Staying competitive in next round of globalization


2019/04/22 17:15
为了保持竞争力,中国企业需要在快速增长的服务贸易中寻找机会,Jonathan Woetzel和Jeongmin Seong在“中国日报”上写道。

China needs to look for opportunities in the fast-growing services trade and take advantage of new technologies.


Manufacturing for export has been an important engine for China's economic development for decades. But today global trade patterns are shifting dramatically, and the landscape is taking on a new look. While China's ongoing evolution is the driving force behind many of these changes, this new world of trade will call for an entirely fresh approach.


Consider a few facts about what's already happening on the ground:


The world continues to turn out more goods every year, but now countries are trading a smaller share of them across borders. That's not a sign of a globalization in retreat, however. Instead, it is a sign of healthy growth and development of local markets - mostly in China and to a lesser degree in other fastgrowing emerging markets such as India. These countries are consuming more of what they make locally. China now accounts for 40 percent of global consumption in textiles and apparel, 28 percent in automotive, and 38 percent in computers and electronics. In 2018, about 76 percent of China's GDP growth came from domestic consumption, while net trade actually made a negative contribution to GDP growth.

世界每年都在继续生产更多的商品,但现在各国的国内贸易比例较小。然而,这并不是退却全球化的标志。相反,它是当地市场健康增长和发展的标志 - 主要是在中国,而在其他快速增长的新兴市场如印度则较少。这些国家正在消耗他们在当地生产的更多产品。中国现在占全球纺织品和服装消费量的40%,汽车业占28%,计算机和电子产品占38%。 2018年,中国GDP增长的76%来自国内消费,而净贸易实际上对GDP增长做出了负面贡献。

Rising demand is only one side of what is driving down trade intensity. The supply side of China's economy is also evolving. As its domestic supplier industries mature, the country is becoming less reliant on imports - and because of the sheer size of China's economy, this shift registers at the global level. For example, in computers and electronics, worldwide trade in intermediate inputs fell by 5.1 percentage points as a share of global output between 2007 and 2017; China fully accounted for this drop. As it modernizes and digitizes multiple industries, China is honing its capabilities in areas such as design, engineering, and high-tech manufacturing. This evolution has now reached a stage that requires deeper recognition from the rest of the world.

需求上升只是降低贸易强度的一方。中国经济的供应方面也在不断发展。随着其国内供应商行业的成熟,该国对进口的依赖程度越来越低 - 而且由于中国经济的庞大规模,这种转变在全球范围内都有所体现。例如,在计算机和电子产品方面,2007年至2017年期间,全球中间投入品的贸易额占全球产出的比例下降了5.1个百分点;中国完全解释了这一下降。随着多个行业的现代化和数字化,中国正在磨练其在设计,工程和高科技制造等领域的能力。这种演变现在已经到了需要世界其他地方更深层认可的阶段。

But while the trade in goods has flattened, trade in services is booming. Some types of services trade - IT services, business services, and intellectual property royalties - are growing two to three times faster than the trade in goods. Services also play an important hidden role in goods production; they account for 30 percent of the value of exported goods. Digital technologies have paved the way for many new types of cross-border service flows, a trend that will only increase as ultrafast 5G networks come online.

但是,虽然货物贸易趋于平缓,但服务贸易仍在蓬勃发展。某些类型的服务贸易 - 信息技术服务,商业服务和知识产权特许权使用费 - 增长速度比商品贸易快两到三倍。服务在商品生产中也起着重要的隐患作用;它们占出口商品价值的30%。数字技术为许多新型跨境服务流铺平了道路,这种趋势只会随着超高速5G网络上线而增加。

Perhaps surprisingly, the world appears to be moving past the days of companies chasing low wages around the globe. Today only 18 percent of trade involves advanced economies importing from the lowest-wage countries. The calculus that goes into decisions about where to locate operations and where to invest in new capacity is changing. Factors such as proximity to customers, the quality of infrastructure, and the availability of a more highly skilled workforce are assuming greater weight than the drive to find the lowest possible global labor costs. Automation and artificial intelligence technologies will accelerate this trend.


At the same time, R&D, innovation, and high-skilled labor increasingly dominate industry value chains. Spending on intangible assets such as brands, software, operational processes, and intellectual property has more than doubled relative to revenue over the past decade. It now outpaces investment in physical plants and equipment. With increasing value attributed to intangibles, advanced economies are in a position to build on their long-established assets - and Chinese companies will have to play catch-up. China's IP exports still total less than one-fifth of its IP imports, and only one Chinese company is in the world's 100 most valuable brands.

与此同时,研发,创新和高技能劳动力日益主导着产业价值链。在过去十年中,品牌,软件,运营流程和知识产权等无形资产的支出相对于收入增长了一倍以上。它现在超过了对物理设备和设备的投资。随着无形资产价值的增加,发达经济体有能力建立其长期存在的资产 - 中国企业将不得不追赶。中国的知识产权出口总量还不到其知识产权进口的五分之一,而且只有一家中国公司是全球100个最有价值品牌。

Long-haul trade is now receding slightly as trade becomes more regionally concentrated. Companies are growing wary of the risks involved in relying on little-known suppliers located halfway around the world - and speed to market is becoming a key competitive battleground. Some companies are establishing discrete regional supply networks near each market they serve to improve coordination and resilience. In a recent McKinsey survey of CEOs, three-quarters say they are adjusting their strategies, and half of respondent reported that they plan to build out operations in one or more key countries.

随着贸易变得更加集中化,长途贸易现在略有下降。公司越来越担心依赖位于世界各地的鲜为人知的供应商所涉及的风险 - 加速上市正成为一个关键的竞争战场。一些公司正在他们服务的每个市场附近建立独立的区域供应网络,以改善协调和恢复能力。麦肯锡最近对首席执行官进行的一项调查显示,四分之三的人表示他们正在调整战略,一半的受访者表示他们计划在一个或多个主要国家开展业务。

These changes may not have attracted headlines, but they reflect how global companies are changing their operations. And because these shifts are an ongoing evolution, they will turn from subtle to seismic in the decade ahead.


Companies and policymakers alike need a longer-term view of how industry structures and the broader global economy are evolving. To remain competitive, companies in China will need to look for opportunities in the fast-growing services trade, deepen trade relationships with emerging markets, and reconfigure supply chains to take advantage of new technologies and demand patterns. Given that services and intellectual property are the real frontiers of trade growth - and the next chapter of globalization demands more attention to digital infrastructure, service capabilities, and workforce skills.

公司和政策制定者都需要从长远角度看待行业结构和更广泛的全球经济如何发展。为了保持竞争力,中国企业需要在快速增长的服务贸易中寻找机会,深化与新兴市场的贸易关系,并重新配置供应链以利用新技术和需求模式。鉴于服务和知识产权是贸易增长的真正前沿 - 全球化的下一章需要更多关注数字基础设施,服务能力和劳动力技能。

This article appeared first in China Daily.


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