Mexico is currently being considered as an alternative sourcing option to China, especially by some US-based supply chains eager to bring production closer to home. Yet they are not the only ones hoping to find new opportunities in Mexico, so are manufacturers from….China.
At the Supply Chain Digest, Dr David Simchi-Levi of MIT has proclaimed that the dramatic rise in fuel prices and transportation costs of recent times constitutes a tipping point where logistics costs have started to negate the unit cost advantages of China and other Asian countries. As a result, Simchi-Levi has noted a number of companies that have either put Asian offshoring on hold or have brought production back to domestic or nearshore sources, the so-called in-sourcing (or near-shoring) phenomenon that is raising Mexico’s profile for US sourcing and supply chains.
And logistics costs are not the only concerns with China. As this article from IHT outlines, inflation, rising labor costs, shortages of workers and energy, a strengthening currency, and dwindling tax breaks for foreign investors all have multinationals encouraging their suppliers to diversify out of China. With the so-called China plus one strategy, companies are expanding their bases elsewhere in Asia (particularly Vietnam) so as not to be overly dependent on factories in one country. Yet few companies are actually closing factories in China, and for those with large operations in China, China plus one is only a strategy intended to mitigate risk and control costs.
If US supply chains are not about to retreat en masse back to Mexico, expanding Chinese auto manufacturers are preparing to advance into Mexico to get a foothold in America. Following the Chinese company First Auto Works, who announced plans to build an assembly plant in Mexico with Grupo Salinas, private Chinese auto manufacturer Geely Automobile this week also announced plans to move ahead with construction of an assembly plant in Mexico to supply both the North and South American markets. Geely and a local partner will invest up to $270 million to build a factory in Leon, capital of Guanjuato state in central Mexico. With the plant eventually set to have an annual capacity of 300,000 units, Geely wants Mexico to be a stepping-stone for achieving its ambitions of conquering the US market.
And Geely might pave the way for a host of Chinese manufacturers to head into Mexico. With China now being Mexico’s second largest trading partner, during his visit to China in July Mexican President Felipe Calderon invited Chinese business leaders to invest in Mexico:
We do want global investment, and if there are (Chinese) companies that are thinking about investing in other (Latin American) nations, but those nations are not hospitable to investment, they should know that they are welcome in Mexico and we protect their rights.
So if some US supply chains are forced to head back closer to home in Mexico, manufacturers in China are prepared for a big push westwards, to Mexico and beyond.
Source from http://www.chinasourcingblog.org/2008/08/