Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 01:26 | SYDNEY
Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 01:26 | SYDNEY

Have shoe industry, will travel


Sam Roggeveen


26 February 2008 15:49

According to this FT report, the footwear industry has been something of a weather vane for economic development in Asia, with the industry moving from Taiwan to South Korea and then to China as wages rose in each country. The report says there's now talk of the industry migrating again as China's wages rise.

Here's the part I don't get: the piece says the industry is reluctant to move because of the Guangdong region's good infrastructure and skilled workforce. But wouldn't that have been true of Taiwan and South Korea (and Australia) too? Either the shoe industry is 'footloose' enough to chase opportunities in low-wage economies, or it needs good infrastructure and skilled workers. It seems like the two things can't both be true. Can one of my economist colleagues set me straight about this?