Foreign Companies Fleeing China En Masse as Costs, Risks Rise

Some are returning home, while others are moving to SE Asia

Long having served as the manufacturer of the world’s goods, China is now having to say farewell to a number of multinational brands who are shutting down their Chinese factories and companies in order to move elsewhere for better opportunities.

Japanese watch maker Citizen is abandoning its manufacturing factory in Guangzhou. The move was announced just before Chinese New Year, leaving a thousand Chinese employees to celebrate their holidays knowing they’ll soon be laid off.

At the same time, Microsoft announced plans to shutter its facilities in Dongguan and Beijing in order to move its production to Vietnam. The company restructuring will come at the expense of 9,000 Chinese employees, all of whom will be sent home.

These two announcements are part of a broader trend as many other companies have signaled similar intentions. Panasonic, Daikin, Sharp, and TDK have announced plans to close down their China facilities and take their manufacturing bases back to Japan. UNIQLO, Nike, Foxconn, Funai Electric, Clarion, and Samsung are now establishing factories in other countries throughout Southeast Asia and India, and are hastening their retreat from China.

Even the Royal Bank of Scotland is expected to announce a restructuring plan that will include closing or selling off all its branches in Mainland China and Hong Kong.

So far netizens in China have greeted the news with mixed reactions. “This proves that foreign companies can’t make any more ill-gotten gains from our country (since) Uncle (President) Xi is conducting an anti-corruption campaign,” one said. Another added: “If you’re going to leave, then leave. Local companies can use the shortfall of labor.

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor