If your Supply Management organization is part of a global multi-national, chances are that it is buying from China and selling to the U.S. And, for a few of you (in heavy machinery, luxury goods, etc.), chances are that your Supply Management organization is producing Made in the USA goods and selling these to China. But should it be?
Ignoring the fact that rising costs in transportation and production (due to raw materials and the inevitable rise in labor wages) coupled with the decline of the US dollar often make sourcing close to home (in Mexico) or at home cheaper than off-shoring, especially when quality and risk-related costs are taken into account, the organization might be missing out on a much bigger opportunity — selling in China. As per this recent article in the Harvard Business Review that chronicled What the West Doesn’t Get About China, China is the world’s largest consumer of automobiles, motorcycles, mobile phones, luxury goods, and shoes and the world’s second largest consumer of home appliances, consumer electronics, jewelry, and the internet. Thus, if you are in the automotive, electronic, appliance, apparel, or jewelry industries, maybe the organization should be producing in China for China.
China, which is the world’s second largest economy, has over 1.3 Billion people and an emerging middle class flocking to urban areas. The Asian Development bank classifies over 60% of China as middle class. That’s almost twice the population of North America! And half of them have internet access, with most of them having broadband access in their densely populated urban centers. In fact, China now has about 90 cities with a middle-class population of 250K or more. The US and Canada combined have less than 70 such cities. And the projections expect this number to quadruple over the next 10 years. Plus, annual growth in some markets is as high as 60%.
In other words, if the organization is producing in China, then it should probably be producing for the local market (as well).