1评论 2017-08-04 06:55:44 来源:英文联播 作者:ALANA SEMUELS 崔总直播:擒牛战法领跑行情

   Will China Save the American Economy?(Part 1)


  MORAINE, Ohio—For years,DonjianXu and her husband operated a sleepy Chinese restaurant in this industrial suburb of Dayton, cooking up American-style Chinese food like sweet-and-sour chicken and beef with broccoli for customers who would stop in on their lunch break.


  Then, three years ago, a new crowd started coming into Dragon China: Chinese natives who missed home and were craving something different than the hamburgers and pasta that everybody seemed to eat in Ohio. The Chinese, mostly businessmen, would come in and order things not on the menu—noodle soup with vegetables and fish balls, for example. Sometimes, CaoDewang, afamousself-made billionaire from China, would come in and sit at the corner table with his deputies, and “that’s when we [would] need to make something really special,” Xu told me.


  Dewangvisits this Ohio town because it’s the home of the American factory he built for his Chinese company,FuyaoGlass. He spent $700 million in 2014 to rehabilitate a shuttered General Motors plant, whereFuyaonow makes automotive glass that it sells to U.S. automakers.Fuyaoemploys 2,000, the majority of whom are Americans. “This place could be the next General Motors if it’s done right,” an employee named Larry Yates, who worked at the GM plant for 25 years, told me. “I want to see them do well and succeed.” Hundreds of Chinese executives work here, too, and, having brought their families from China, are buying homes and cars and enrolling their children in local schools.


  Chinese investors are investing heavily in the United States. In 2016, Chinese businesses spent $46 billion on foreign direct investment in the United States, a threefold increase from the $15 billion they spent in 2015, according to the Rhodium Group, a research firm that analyzes global investment trends. Chinese-owned firms now suPPort more than 140,000 jobs nationwide, nine times as many as in 2009.


  President Trump has made reversing or resisting globalization a cornerstone of his economic policies and ideology, issuing executive orders directing the executive branch tohire and buy American, pulling out of trade deals such as the Trans Pacific Partnership, and promising to renegotiate NAFTA. But much of the economic activity being generated around the country comes because of globalization, not in spite of it. Globalization helped bolster economies around the world, including China’s, and is now allowing a class of wealthy people and companies from those economies to invest in the United States, creating jobs in depressed regions like Ohio.


  Foreign companies are responsible for many of the jobs in states like Ohio today—they employ 18.5 percent of manufacturing workers in the U.S., according to the Brookings Institution. Other foreign companies creating jobs in Ohio include the Danish firmXelliaPharmaceuticals and the German auto-parts supplierBorgers. “People typically think of trade or globalization as a one-waystreet in which they're on the losing end—if you listen to the president talk about this, you would come away thinking that we've only lost in this equation,” JosephParilla, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, told me. “Nobody has talked about the infusion of capital that comes from foreign companies that are supporting a ton of jobs in the U.S.”


  But the increased investment comes with some growing pains. Chinese executives told me it’s hard to get American factories to become as efficient as Chinese ones, partly because Americans work fewer hours than Chinese workers do—on average, the Chinese work2,200 hoursa year, compared to 1,790 for the United States. They also say there are not enough qualified workers in manufacturing in Ohio, and that workers are unreliable.


  Workers have their own complaints, asThe New York Timesreported recently. Workers say that Chinese companies operating in the U.S. don’t adhere to American labor standards and working hours. The workers complain about poor treatment, and one worker recentlysuedFuyaoon behalf of herself and others, alleging that the companydidn’t pay them overtime.


  Another man alleges thatFuyaoexposed him to chemicals that gave him blisters and made it difficult to breathe. The workers also say thatFuyaoisn’t investing in training them, which is leading to low productivity at the factory.Fuyaodisagreed with the criticisms, telling me that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had investigated the claim of chemical use and found no violations, and that its policies on overtime and paid leave are straightforward.


  Dayton—and Ohio—needs plants likeFuyaoto succeed. New-business creationis falteringin America, with the number of new start-ups at 40-year lows. Foreign investment could be a key to creating new jobs for Americans. The question is whether foreign companies will continue to find America worth their investment.


  In the cavernous white lobby of theFuyaofactory on a recent morning, a handful of people in suits sat under a Chinese flag, filling out job applications. They were seeking open positions atFuyao, which had just announced that it was raising its hourly wage by $2 in order to attract new workers and decrease turnover. That drew in people like William Oliver, 31, who has an associate’s degree and was applying for a position on third shift (11 p.m. to 7 a.m.) so he could work atFuyaowhile he attended school. Once he heard about the raise, he told me, “I knew I had to come down here.”


  Not long ago, companies were decamping for overseas locations like China and Mexico, where they could save millions in labor costs. In 2004, factory workers in China made $4.35 an hour, compared to $17.54 that the average factory worker made in the U.S.,according to theBoston Consulting Group.


  But labor expenses are rising in China. According to theChinese Business Climate Survey, put out by the American Chamber of Commerce in China and the consulting firm Bain &;; Company, businesses there cite rising labor costs as their top problem. That’s in part because worker organizations are gaining strength, and strikes and labor disputes are becoming more common. Today, Chinese manufacturing wages adjusted for productivity are $12.47 an hour, compared to $22.32 in the United States, according to the Boston Consulting Group.


  Wages aren’t the only costs in China that are rising. The price of electricity has increased 15 percent since 2010, and industrial land is becoming more expensive too. Taxes are high as well:Dewang, the head ofFuyaoGlass, saidin an interviewlate last year that he had moved his plant to the U.S. because China had the“world’s highest taxes.”(Actually, income taxes are higher in many Scandinavian countries than in China, and the corporate income-tax rate in China is25 percent, which is lower than in the U.S.)“Apart from labor costs, everything else is cheaper in the U.S. than in China,”hehas said.


  These factors alone would be enough reason to give companies pause about locating factories in China. But there are other reasons Chinese businessmen are looking outside of their own country for investment opportunities. There are so many cash-flush investors in China that there are fewer good opportunities to buy companies, and so people with money have fewer places to put it, saidEswarPrasad, a professor of trade policy at Cornell. Such investors might have once put their money into U.S. securities, but the rate of return is low, so they’re turning their attention to buying foreign companies instead. (Most Chinese investment abroad comes in the form of outright purchases of other companies; theFuyaofactory stands out in that the company decided to build its own products there, rather than acquire an existing business.)


  Many investors also want to diversify their portfolio by investing in companies outside of China, said Daniel Rosen, a founding partner at the Rhodium Group. And investors are worried about a weaker Chinese currency in the future, so they are making big bets while their money still goes relatively far. It’s not just in the U.S.: Chinese outbound foreign direct investment reached $200 billion in 2016, with deals in Europe, Africa, and South America as well. In total, the Rhodium Group calculates that China invested $46 billion in the U.S. in 2016, almost three times as much as the U.S. invested in China that year.


  “The U.S. is seeing the same pattern of increasing Chinese investment that is taking place worldwide,” Rosen told me. Often, investors buy existing companies overseas simply as an investment—96 percent of Chinese investments in the U.S. in 2016 were in acquisitions, according to the Rhodium Group. The Chinese manufacturer HaierboughtGeneral Electric’s appliance division last year, for instance, and a consortium of Chinese investorsboughtthe printer company Lexmark. Plants likeFuyaoare different. They are what Rhodium calls“greenfield”investments, which means the company builds a new plant from the ground up and hires new people. These have represented a small share of Chinese investments in advanced economies like the United States, but are “likely to continue rising significantly in the year ahead,” Rosen said.


  Withgreenfieldinvestments, Chinese companies often bring their own executives to come in and run operations. I met one such person, a 35-year-old named Wei Liu, at the Dragon China restaurant on a recent weekday, where he had stopped for a quick lunch. Liu had brought his wife and daughter to Dayton, a town he’d never heard of, to improve his career prospects, he told me. “If I work here, I will have more chances,” he said, as he waited for his food. He likes living in America, though he says Dayton isn’t as diverse as other American cities he’s been to, and he doesn’t love the winters.


  Fuyaomade a greenfield investment in Ohio because it wanted to be closer to its customers, which are auto companies building cars in the United States, Jeff Liu, the president ofFuyaoGlass America, told me. The U.S. auto market is currently booming, setting anew recordfor sales last year, andFuyaowants to become a bigger part of the distribution chain. Shipping glass from China was expensive and dicey, as the product would sometimes break, which in turn made the process more costly, he said.


  Fuyaospent around$700 millionto get the plant up and running, bringing hundreds of Chinese workers to Dayton to set up the plant and supervise new hires. Now, it’s turning its attention to hiring more Americans, and to becoming a “truly American company,” Liu told me. “We want to be the best employer in this town,” he said.


  To be the best employer in town, though,Fuyaoneeds to be able to stay open, and so far, the factory isn’t making money.Fuyaohas been working on its factory since 2014, but it still isn’t running at full capacity.FuyaoGlass America posted a $41 million loss in 2016, the company said in its annual report.


  Some of the losses were because the company had to spend so much money on equipment to get the plant running, Liu told me. But productivity per worker in Moraine is 10 to 15 percent lower than it is in China, he said, adding “We have a big gap to catch up to China, but we’ll get there.”

  道川对我说,亏损的部分原因是公司购置了建厂所需的设备。但莫雷纳工人的生产力比中国工人低10%到15%。 “赶上中国,还有很大差距,但我们会成功的。”

  Chinese companies also struggle to operate in an environment where there are a network of safety regulations that do not exist to the same extent in China. “It’s an example of the challenges of working on a more advanced economy where workers have much broader protections and safety standards and rights than is normal back in China,” says Rosen, of the Rhodium Group.


  The company says it can’t find enough skilled people to fill open positions, Liu said, even when it raised the wages by $2 an hour. Most workers aren’t trained in automotive glass in the Dayton area, and many aren’t accustomed to working in the heat of the factory. Turnover has been high at theFuyaoplant so far, with workers quitting, and managers complain that American workers often show up late and take too much time off.



关键词阅读:曹德旺 美国工厂

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