Society

Chinese Billionaire Moves Factory Jobs To U.S.

| by Nik Bonopartis

One of President-elect Donald Trump's primary pledges to Americans during his campaign was to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., and punish American companies that moved factories and jobs overseas to countries like China for cheap labor.

But at least one Chinese businessman says it's cheaper to employ Americans than it is to staff factories in his home country, and he's backing up his words by creating jobs stateside.

Cao Dewang is the owner of Fuyao Glass, which has invested more than $1 billion in manufacturing in the U.S, according to Fortune.

Dewang's company purchased a former General Motors factory -- which had been abandoned since 2008 -- and repurposed the Dayton, Ohio, site as a glass manufacturing facility that now employs some 2,000 people, WDTN reported.

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And he's not done yet -- when the factory is fully operational, it will employ about 3,000 American workers, Dewang said.

Dewang is not alone; he's part of a group of Chinese business magnates who have invested more than $20 billion in U.S. facilities in 2016, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The rising cost of doing business in China has Dewang and other Chinese corporate heads looking elsewhere. Those costs are pushed up by higher wages, greater costs for transporting goods across China and high tax rates for Chinese companies, according to Fortune. Chinese manufacturers are taxed as much as 35 percent more for operations in their home country compared to the U.S., the report said.

Wages in China have tripled in recent years, while the cost of shipping and moving materials across the U.S. is cheaper than conducting equivalent business in China, a difference partially blamed on high tolls in the communist country's road network.

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Moving manufacturing operations stateside also makes sense for companies selling their goods to American customers. That's created an ironic situation in which an increasing number of goods produced by Chinese companies carry the "Made In America" label, while many of their American competitors produce goods that are made in China.

"Foreign companies are eager to cut their costs by being closer to their customers," Mike Preston, executive director with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, told CNN. "It's why they're coming to America."

Preston cited an example in his own backyard. Tianyuan Garment, a Chinese company, announced in October that it's building a $20 million factory in Arkansas that is expected to employ about 400 Americans. The factory will open in 2017.

Since 2011, 100,000 American manufacturing jobs have been "reshored" back to the U.S. Sixty percent of those jobs were returned to the U.S. from China, Fortune reported, citing the journal "Arkansas Business."

For politicians like Rep. Mike Turner, an Ohio Republican, it's a welcome change of pace.

“This plant investment could have gone anywhere," Turner said of the Fuyao Glass plant, WDTN reports. "Fuyoa could have invested this anywhere around the world and they chose right here in Moraine, Ohio."

Sources: Fortune via MSN, Fortune, WDTN / Photo credit: Ford Motor Company/Flickr

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