Reconfiguring Supply Chains: Transregional Infrastructure and Informal Manufacturing in Southern China
In recent years, rising labour costs and unstable market conditions characteristic of China’s garment manufacturing sector in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region have prompted former migrant workers and small-scale entrepreneurs to move their wholesaling and informal manufacturing activities to interior provinces. Their entrepreneurial activities restructure global supply chains by using logistical and transport systems that connect interior regions to major industrial and trading hubs historically built along the coastal Special Economic Zones. These transregional linkages, as I will show, have been accompanied by an expansion of informal entrepreneurship and manufacturing, practices that are primarily driven by early generations of migrant workers who arrived in Shenzhen, Dongguan, and Guangzhou in the early 1980s, and who have relocated back to their native places in smaller cities or in the countryside. After relocating, they typically establish satellite factories and small-scale warehouses that support the manufacturing capacities of larger factories in the metropolitan regions and traditional manufacturing areas.
Duke Faculty Artists/Collaborators