Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > 'Go Up', 'Go West', and 'Go Out': Changing Industrial Policy and Firm Strategies in China’s Apparel Industry

The rise of China's export-oriented apparel industry since the 1990s has been driven largely by global sourcing practices intent on capturing the cost advantages of a development model predicated, in part, on unskilled or semi-skilled migratory labor flows linking western and central labor pools to coastal production sites. Until recently, the dominance of this model of development has fueled growth in low-wage employment in the coastal regions and has provided few opportunities for economic and social upgrading. Since the early 2000s, coastal factories have increasingly had to confront difficulties generated by the increasing social and economic costs of this regionally concentrated low wage growth model. This research focuses on the role of the apparel industry in this process. It documents the major changes in organization and geographies of economic activity in the industry, and demonstrates how the central and local state, domestic and international capital, and Chinese and other Asian workers are shaping the changing organization and geography of China's apparel industry. By focusing on a case study from China and a firm-level database on China's apparel industry, the research pays particular attention to firm strategies and state policies that have arisen in response to upward pressure on wages from workers, increased materials and energy costs, and competition from other low-cost producers in Asia.