China has been referred to as the workshop of the world for years. Now it finally deserves the tag. A report by IHS Global Insight, a US-based economics consultancy, estimates that China’s share of world manufacturing output (in US dollars) last year hit 19.8% – topping that of America’s at 19.4%. The Financial Times noted that the last time China was the world’s biggest goods producer was in 1850; the UK then held the mantle for almost 50 years and the US for the following 110 years. Lobby groups in the US trumpeted the news as a “wake-up call” for American industry. Then again, as the IHS report also made clear, the US still remains hugely more productive than its main competitor, making almost as much as China with nine times fewer workers employed in the manufacturing sector.
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