There is an old joke about a United Nations family planning conference. A leader up front, trying to scare people about overpopulation, exclaims how there is a woman giving birth somewhere in the world every 3 seconds. A jokester at the back of the room stands up and says, “find me that woman!” I thought of that joke today.
All Roads Lead To China just did a post entitled, “A Question of Chinese Toy Factory Closures,” in which he asks all sorts of questions as to why so many Chinese toy factories have closed down when China’s overall economic statistics are still not all that bad. The post asks the following of those factories that have closed:

1) How many of these factories existed 6 months ago vs. which ones were brought online to cope with the Christmas rush?
2) How many of these factories closed due to the fact that many brands have been reducing the number of suppliers they use?
3) How many of these factories were really viable entities that competed in the market vs. those that simply were producing low end commodities that were uncompetitive?
4) How many of these factories were simply “shacks out back” vs. well capitalized?

All Roads goes to great lengths to emphasize that he is not minimizing the economic troubles of China’s factories, and I emphatically make that same statement. But, and I know this is going to sound strange, I have been asking my firm’s China clients just about every weekday for the last month how they have been impacted by the Global and China downturn and not a one of them has mentioned factory closings. Indeed, I have asked many of them if they have experienced any problems from factory closings of their own or of their suppliers and the only response I have gotten is “no.”
So yes, like All Roads, I absolutely believe factories are closing in China and with that, massive worker and community dislocation. But also like All Roads, I have very real questions as to what sort of factories those were.
What are you hearing/seeing out there?

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Photo of Dan Harris Dan Harris

Dan is a founder of Harris Bricken, an international law firm with lawyers in Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, China and Spain.

He primarily represents companies doing business in emerging market countries, having spent years building and maintaining a global, professional network. 

Dan is a founder of Harris Bricken, an international law firm with lawyers in Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, China and Spain.

He primarily represents companies doing business in emerging market countries, having spent years building and maintaining a global, professional network.  His work has been as varied as securing the release of two improperly held helicopters in Papua New Guinea, setting up a legal framework to move slag from Canada to Poland’s interior, overseeing hundreds of litigation and arbitration matters in Korea, helping someone avoid terrorism charges in Japan, and seizing fish product in China to collect on a debt.

He was named as one of only three Washington State Amazing Lawyers in International Law, is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory (its highest rating), is rated 10.0 by AVVO.com (also its highest rating), and is a recognized SuperLawyer.

Dan is a frequent writer and public speaker on doing business in Asia and constantly travels between the United States and Asia. He most commonly speaks on China law issues and is the lead writer of the award winning China Law Blog. Forbes Magazine, Fortune Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Business Week, The National Law Journal, The Washington Post, The ABA Journal, The Economist, Newsweek, NPR, The New York Times and Inside Counsel have all interviewed Dan regarding various aspects of his international law practice.

Dan is licensed in Washington, Illinois, and Alaska.

In tandem with the international law team at his firm, Dan focuses on setting up/registering companies overseas (via WFOEs, Rep Offices or Joint Ventures), drafting international contracts (NDAs, OEM Agreements, licensing, distribution, etc.), protecting IP (trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights and patents), and overseeing M&A transactions.