Wednesday, August 23, 2006


China, and microeconomies

NPR has an interesting series of reports this week on its Morning Edition program. Louisa Lim covers various aspects of the Chinese economy, and I was especially interested in yesterday's installment. Some small towns in China have taken to becoming hotspots of manufacturing for one specific product, the product varying by town but consistent within the town.

The item focuses on a town that produces buttons, but points out more than that as it talks about nearby towns as well:

  • Qiaotou produces 60% of the buttons in the world.
  • A nearby town produces 75% of the world's cigarette lighters.
  • Another nearby town is responsible for 80% of the neckties in the world.
I find those statistics to be quite amazing.

Qiaotou has 200 button factories, employing some 20,000 workers. Quite an accomplishment for a small town in a poor part of the country.

This series is interesting, and well worth a listen.

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