Is China declining as an affordable manufacturing solution for companies like Apple, Nokia, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and more? Not quite yet, but as the Chinese government, and corporations like Foxconn are forced to raise wages, the bottom line for foreign companies may get smaller and smaller. The bottom line rules the universe. Consumers could feel it at the checkout line or corporations will take serious steps to keep manufacturing costs down.
The New York Times and Wall Street Journal predict a future where the Apple's of the world exit China for newer, cheaper labor markets like Vietnam, India and Indonesia. Some say that discussions about such moves are already underway. Foxconn, faced with a string of suicides and controversies surrounding the general well-being of its massive workforce, has raised the pay of its employees twice this year and cities like Beijing plan to raise those wages even more. Even more alarming for foreign companies doing business in China is a movement by the government to give workers more rights.
Naturally, this scares corporations who see the evaporation of a market that served them well, and saved them a lot of costs. Add to that Inflation within China and a projected increase in its currency value, and it is the perfect storm for companies to get the hell out. Naturally higher costs for a company like Apple may lead to higher prices for that iPhone or iPad at retail if the labor situation in China is seriously reformed.