It’s not everyday that YSU STEM is able to bring in guest speakers, let alone speakers that have spent the last 15 years in China. Dr. Craig Seidelson, the chief engineer for Timken Corporation in China, visited campus on Wednesday, July 9th, to tell us exactly why “Made in China” is the world’s most recognizable brand.
Much of what Dr. Seidelson told the YSU faculty, YSU students, and community was from experience. He told attendees about the how the Chinese economy worked, by artificially keeping their currency low so they can sustain the amount of growth they are experiencing.
“An undervalued currency, approximately twenty percent,” says Dr. Seidelson, ” makes manufacturing in one location favorable to another.”
Dr. Seidelson also added that the currency was not the only thing that was undervalued, stressing that almost three quarters of the world’s workforce works in manufacturing and China has the largest, most underpaid workers in the world. Those numbers only include the documented workers; undocumented workers are only paid up to eight cents an hour in the some 17 provinces that have factories.
Advanced manufacturing (AM) was also a big driver of conversation at the presentation, and we may owe part of the AM growth to exporting jobs to China.
“One of the reasons for the improved efficiencies in North American manufacturing is we have outsourced some of those jobs to China,” he says. “For example, low skilled, those which require high capital investment, but are commodity type products, those types of products we need to have manufactured in China.”
Dr. Seidelson talked about the many risks and gains about moving manufacturing to China. He also gave several examples of how those risks can turn to gains and vice versa. The laws in China always remain the same, but the interpretation of those laws change with the people. He says that if the government wants the company there, the regulations will be their friend, but if they don’t, there are over 32 hoops to jump through.