Chinese Manufacturing Investment - Problems for New China Manufacturers


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Foreign companies investing in China manufacturing facilities face difficult tasks in dealing with Chinese engineering and construction companies. Chinese design and construction policies and practices are vastly different from those in the West. Cultural differences often frustrate western engineers and managers attempting to complete their new China manufacturing facilities.

Engineering design in China of a foreign invested plant required close supervision by the owners to insure that the final design is complete and correct. Many foreign companies assume that Chinese engineering firms understand what they want and will provide a design fulfilling those needs. Constant communication from the owner to the Chinese engineers is necessary and daily supervision and approval of their work is required.

Construction after the engineering is complete is an even more demanding task to oversee. Chinese construction company organization is much different from their western countrparts with the Construcion Manager occupying a position where he cannot be replaced without dire consequences. The workers live on site and are direct employees of the Construction Manager. Their loyalty is directed to him not the company.

Lack of skilled attention in the construction area has resulted in many poor quality manufacturing plants being built in China. Most of these are also over budget and late causing severe financial losses for the owners. These problems can be overcome, however, and acceptable quality, on budget, on schedule manufacturing projects are possible in China with a proper understanding of Chinese methodology and culture and proper oversight by the owners.

For additional information on successful manufacturing plant project execution in China visit

This article is written by Walter Johnson, an Associate of PATWORKS, LLC. , China consultants for sourcing, manufacturing, project management and China business practices. For further information about PATWORKS service, please visit


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