Riots Prompt Japanese Firms to Reassess China Operations
The Financial Times has what appears to be a preliminary look at the economic implications of the China-Japan rift:
Three in 10 Japanese companies operating in China are reassessing expansion plans after violent anti-Japanese demonstrations in April, reflecting widespread concern that sour political relations are poisoning business ties between AsiaÃ¢€™s two largest economies.
The survey, conducted by the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) in May and published on Thursday, found that 54.8 per cent of companies planned to expand their existing operations in China. That compared with more than 86 per cent when the same question was asked in December.
Of 414 companies surveyed, 7.5 per cent said they Ã¢€œwere planning to postpone or cancel investment projects in ChinaÃ¢€, while 5.6 per cent said they would Ã¢€œdownsize production in China or shift production bases to other countries.Ã¢€
From this report, I couldn’t tell whether the organization polled companies that had specifically intended to expand last year. But, according to the press release, questionnaires were sent to “those firms who, in a November-December 2004 JETRO survey, included China in their business plans.” Moreover, labor issues were prominent:
While most firms were concerned the April events may effect their future sales performance, manufacturers with production bases in China were more worried about how the events might affect their production activities, with many forecasting “worsened relationships with Chinese employees” and “difficulty in securing personnel locally”.
Obviously, both countries suffer from the diplomatic row, but I nonetheless wonder: which one loses more? Is it Japan, whose firms want access to a large market and relatively cheap labor? Or is it China, whose consumers use Japanese products, whose workers seek employment, and whose public officials aim for economic growth?