China’s Pearl River Delta (PRD) region, the part mainland of China closest to Hong Kong that cranks out about one-third of China’s exports, is facing an acute labour shortage most people can only dream of right now.
At a job fair in Shenzhen yesterday, only 1,000 workers were looking for jobs.
In Dongguan, some 150,000 extra workers are needed after the Spring Festival, according to Huang Huiping, an official with the Dongguan labour and social security bureau.
Sources with the bureau said there were two jobs in the city for every worker in December.
The processing industries are facing up to 80 per cent job vacancies, Huang said. “It is because many factories have opened more production lines following increased overseas orders,” Huang said.
Zhongshan, a Pearl River Delta city and a centre of home appliance manufacturing, is also facing a shortage of 130,000 workers after the festival, said Zhang Yousheng, assistant general manager of Gaowei Electrics Group.
“Workers’ salaries will increase by 30 per cent this year. But we still find it hard to employ qualified workers,” Zhang said.
Yet good news for Chinese PRD workers is good news for workers in other places. The cost of labour in the delta has been rising for years now, reducing its cost-competitiveness relative to both other Chinese regions… and other nations.
Finance Buzz: “If it’s going to cost another 20 per cent (to produce our goods) it will be extremely dangerous for us,” said James Lim of COG Design, which manufactures slick, educational toy brands such as Dino Horizons and Eino-O Science in the Pearl River Delta. “Down the road we may have no choice but to move our factory to the northern part of China to make our costs lower.”
It’s all an sign of the massive development happening in the Pearl River Delta. If this one region can crank out so much output, imagine what an entire China could do once the rest of the country catches up.