The Origins of Chinese Manufacturing

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The origins of Chinese manufacturing are quite interesting. Have you ever wondered how it became the frontrunner for international trade in manufacturing? For decades, it’s been a growing pulse for world trade and the “go-to” center for mass production.

The origins of Chinese manufacturing date back to the Silk Road. That was a network of trade routes between Asia, Africa, and Europe. In fact, large cargo ships of today still use some of those routes! Back then, however, the route once orchestrated shipments of goods from China to India, Persia, and the Roman Empire along the Mediterranean. There are several key aspects and monumental periods that have positioned China into the world’s 2nd largest economies.

Chinese Manufacturing in the 1800s

The 19th century ushered in the First and Second Opium Wars with Great Britain due to conflicts with China and various countries. China signed the Treaty of Nanking and the Treaties of Tientsin because of these conflicts. Consequently, it forced them to relinquish some of their advantages in foreign trade. Regardless, they still fared well financially during the 20th century up until the end of the Chinese Civil War. This then ushered in the Communist Party and birthed the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The economy took a huge hit leading to a period of nation-wide poverty that stretched over a forty-year time-frame.

Relations with the United States

Some still argue that ping pong was the genesis of diplomacy between China and the USA.  It’s a fascinating story that began with a chance encounter between members of the China and USA international ping pong teams when they were in Japan attending the 1971 World Table Tennis Championships.  After a few events in the category of “you can’t make this stuff up” former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had a secret meeting with Chinese leaders in 1971 regarding reopening trade.

In 1972 President Nixon made a visit to the People’s Republic in February of 1972 marking the first time in history an American president traveled to the Chinese mainland.  Soon business and diplomatic relations were established.  Around the same time, the Chinese enacted economic reforms that opened the country up to conducting business with the West again through Chinese manufacturing efforts, along with Western cultural exchange and tourism.   Chairman Mao is quoted to say, “The little ball moves the big ball.”  You can read more detail here https://www.history.com/news/ping-pong-diplomacy.

Chinese Manufacturing’s Rise in the Late 20th Century

The automobile industry also brought in major revenue over the past few decades. In 1992, Chinese manufacturing output for vehicles was up. Economists reported that China produced 21 million passenger vehicles and 3.4 million commercial vehicles. And this result was up 5.3% from 2014, and revenue was estimated to a whopping $600.4 billion last year. Between 1992 and 2010, China became the largest manufacturing nation in the world with 19.8 percent in output. Today they supply goods to some of the largest companies in the world.

If you’re currently experiencing challenges with US manufacturing, it may be time to consider Chinese manufacturing. Our experts at ITI Manufacturing have been helping American companies manufacture high-quality products offshore for over 40 years.  Together, we can work through challenges to find the solution that is right for your company. Call us at (281) 242-7030.