Did Coronavirus spell the end for China’s manufacturing “Gold Rush”?

For more than a decade China has dominated the manufacturing world thanks to their cheap prices and vast manufacturing capabilities. When Covid-19 shut down their factories, and countries all around the world refused to allow ships from China to enter their ports delaying shipments by months, many people predicted that this spelled the end for the Chinese manufacturing “gold rush”. But is that really the case?

As we all know, Covid-19 failed to be contained and over the following months spread to nearly every country in the world, with more than 7 million confirmed cases and 400,000 deaths. Businesses were forced to close their doors, economies have been battered and Governments have struggled to keep up with a pandemic they were clearly not prepared for.

Despite Covid-19 no longer being a “China” problem, some people still felt it would have a serious negative impact on the Chinese economy – with more people choosing to buy from countries closer to home. However, as time has gone by it’s clear that this is most definitely not the case.

Chadd Blunt, CEO of Millennium Cargo in Birmingham, has more than 30 years experience in the freight industry.

“While we did see an initial dip in goods moving from China when the factories first closed and before Coronavirus became a worldwide problem, that dip has now corrected itself. Here at Millennium Cargo, we’re moving just as much cargo from China as ever – there’s no sign of it significantly decreasing. I think as time goes on we will see retailers start to diversify their manufacturers a little, perhaps having the bulk of their goods manufactured in China, but some also coming from India or South Korea to give a little added security.” Chadd said.

When asked about the potential for more businesses opting for UK based manufacturers, he replied:

“I just don’t think that’s likely to happen. China has been a manufacturing powerhouse for more than a decade. Their cheap production costs mean that British manufacturers just can’t compete on price. We all love the idea of ‘buying British’ but are businesses willing to put their hand in their pockets and pay double the price to do so? Usually not. That’s why China’s position is so secure – the UK just can’t compete.”

So did Covid-19 spell the end for China’s dominance in the manufacturing industry? It doesn’t look like it. But only time will tell if this big shakeup has opened up the doors for one of the other keen contenders, such as Japan, South Korea or India, to secure themselves a larger chunk of the market share in years to come.

©Chadd Blunt – Millenium Cargo