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English>>China Business

Robots pose new challenges to markets

By Hong Liang  (China Daily)

13:21, September 03, 2012

Chinese mainland manufacturers having a handful in coping with dwindling orders and swelling inventories should spare a thought for a less immediate but more far-reaching threat lying ahead.

The fast pace of industrialization that has benefited so many people on the mainland in the past several decades was largely built on the plentiful supply of land and labor. Indeed, the contributions of many millions of hard-working and disciplined migrant workers to economic growth are widely recognized.

Despite rising competition from other emerging markets, the mainland has remained the manufacturing base of choice for many multinational enterprises. But even at the best of times before the outbreak of the global financial crisis in 2008, economic planners were urging domestic manufacturers to move up the value-add ladder, warning that the existing model of growth could not last forever.

The initial impact of the downturn in overseas demand on the economy was largely grossed over by the government's heroic stimulation program, which provided an opportunity for factory owners in the industrial heartlands of the Yangtze River Delta region and Pearl River Delta region to make even bigger profits by investing their accumulated capitals in real estate and some other assets.

The resulting flood of money into the real estate markets around the country pushed property prices to levels that fewer and fewer prospective home buyers could afford, prompting the government to clamp down on speculative excesses.

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