Bill Dodson has been writing extensively about social unrest in China and what it means for foreign companies. In his weblog he focuses on the fact that most strikes have been at factories owned by Japanese, Taiwanese and some Hongkongnese. Some observations.
One of the interesting points I turned up in my research for the report was the overwhelming number of companies at which workers are staging proletariat-style revolts are Asian: Taiwanese and Japanese, mainly, with some Hong Kong investors I suspect are predominantly Chinese Mainlanders “round-tripping”; that is, setting up HK investment vehicles to re-invest in the Mainland as foreign companies: helps in reducing local tax burdens and makes it easier to get their income out of China.
I’ve always been of the mind Asian investors tend to treat their employees as liabilities, disposable; while Western companies invested for the long-term in China tend to treat their staff as assets to take care of and encourage. People don’t like being treated as liabilities. Of course, their are exceptions in both camps; however, I’ve found few exceptions over the years.