The rise of China’s manufacturing sector: challenges and opportunities for ASEAN-5

Mahendhiran Nair, Deviga Vengedasalam, Karunagaran Madhavan, V.G.R. Chandran Govindaraju


This study investigates the trends of manufacturing export from China and ASEAN-5 (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore). The Balassa revealed comparative advantage (RCA) method was used to study the trade flows from these nations. The strength of the export specialization of the countries was measured using the Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient. The study was conducted using the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) product categories at three-digit level for the period 1993-2004. The results showed that China is not only active in labor and resource-based industries, but is also moving up in the innovation value chain—that is, it is increasing its presence in technology and knowledge-intensive industries as well. The dual-strategy adopted by China has serious implications on the manufacturing industries in ASEAN-5. The paper discusses the strategies and policies to enhance the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector in ASEAN-5.


JEL classification: F14, L60, N60, N65


manufacturing sector; competitiveness; ASEAN-5 and China

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