China’s Factories Count on Robots as Workforce Shrinks
More after the break.
The problem is that wages have risen so much that China is no longer competitive against the low cost labor nations. But while China is moving to high quality robots from the first world, it also has an excess of low skilled employees who are being squeezed out of work. The One Child policy was a foolish disaster which will result in a demographic problem and soon. However, China is not sufficiently wealthy today to shift to industrial production using robots. It still needs to bring 600 - 700 million of its residence out of agricultural poverty. It also needs to build sufficient wealth to survive the rapid aging/demographic shift that the One Child policy will cause.
Sadly, that is unlikely to happen.
How this plays out is anyones guess, but the anti trade policies of both Trump, and Clinton are set to injure the world, not benefit US labor groups who can no longer affordably produce a product. The problem with international trade is it forces the local producer to manufacture in an environment of many producers. This means very high quality products, and low costs. Only the few will be able to compete. This is the industrial world since inception. There is nothing new here. And this process means that the average person becomes wealthier as he is able to source high quality goods for lower costs.
No amount of protectionism will "bring back the jobs," since the jobs make the product sufficiently expensive that customers simply substitute alternative products. This is no longer a problem for the US and the wealthy West, but for China as well.