The History of U.S. China Manufacturing

China’s dominance as a global manufacturer is no longer headline news. In 2011, the country surpassed the rest of the world and became the largest manufacturing nation. Though despite a perceived rivalry, China and the US have always

joined hands when it comes to manufacturing. The history of China manufacturers dates back several hundred years. International trade first took root on the Silk Road – a multiple-route path that touched several geographies including the Chinese eastern border, India, the Roman Empire, and Persia.

Trade has always flourished in China, barring a few unfortunate years that were instigated by wars and other man-made events. After the Korean War, the United States barred trade and travel to and from China for almost two decades. Later, in 1971, Henry Kissinger, the U.S. Secretary of State, happened to visit China for a formal meeting that led to healthy trade relations between the two economies by the end of the decade, resulting in an increase in manufacturing in China.

Automobile manufacturing is a perfect example validating this rise. Starting in 1975, yearly automobile production rose from approximately 140,000 units to close to 444,000 units within a decade. Within another 10 years, in 1992, the automobile production output rose to 1.1 million. The increase was steady until the year 2001 when production hit a massive 2.3 million.

By 2002, there was a leap of another 1 million automobiles and one more million the subsequent year. This is not to say that sales weren’t doing equally well.  In fact, sales performance was as good as the production rates. While the year 2004 saw a minor stumble in sales, thanks to government restrictions enacted to prevent pollution, the damage was minimal. The sales numbers still clocked 2.4 million units in 2004, with the rate steadily increasing in the subsequent years. In 2010, the Chinese manufacturing sector’s contribution was 19.8 percent of the world’s total manufacturing, surpassing America in the process.

The 1990s and early 2000s were the days when China’s manufacturers primarily focused on apparel, appliances, and textiles. The recent years have seen the country investing heavily in electronics and higher end product production.  And with the rise in the Chinese middle class, China’s manufacturing has been more and more for its own people.  While China’s dominance as a manufacturer continues, the next decade will no doubt bring further changes to the global manufacturing landscape.

Who better to trade with than a country that’s been doing it for hundreds of years? Contact ITI Manufacturing, we’ll help you get started.

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