As Shinzo Abe's government bets it all on Donald Trump's America, there's new evidence that Xi Jinping's China holds far more promise.
The idea that Asia's biggest economy is a boon for Abe's deflation-plagued population is hardly revolutionary. But historical animus and vast wage-level disparities have long kept the region's two commercial powers apart. But a new survey from the Japan External Trade Organization, covering about 3,000 firms, finds that nearly 9 percent of those that either moved jobs to China, or planned to, are coming back to Japan.
The first reversal since 2006 reflects rising mainland wages that could accelerate this "reshoring" phenomenon, the flip side of offshoring. Over the past five years, monthly factory pay in major Chinese cities has risen between 20 and 30 percent. That's partly why the pace of reverse imports from China between January and March was down 18 percent from 18 months earlier. The proportion of goods made in China for Japanese companies also is down to 42 percent from 50 percent five years ago.