Beijing News recently published an article by well known scholar Ma Guangyuan on the cost of Chinese labor. The article quoted the results of a study by the Chinese central bank. In Dongguan, a major manufacturing city in Guangdong Province, the minimum wage standard went up from RMB 350/month in 1994 to 770/month in 2008 – an annual increase rate below 5%.
The article pointed out that the "miracle" of the "Chinese Model" is obviously built on a "low wages in exchange for profit" basis. As a result, consumer spending remains low. For the past 30 years, the average annual increase in China’s GDP rate has been far higher than the increase in the rate of consumer income. Cheap labor is more of an Achilles’ heel than the "core competitive advantage" of "Made in China".
Source: Beijing News, May 30, 2009.