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Wednesday, November 19, 2003

China: Sports Shoe Capital of the world

Hi everyone. I've just set up a blog called Asia Labour News. The idea is to develop a searchable online database of labour-related stories (covering law, OHS, policy, FDI, workplace conditions, CSR, and so on) from Southeast Asia and China.

Today the BBC has an interesting story about Yue Yuen . Yue Yuen Industrial (Holdings) Limited is the world's largest producer of sports shoes, churning them out for forty companies (Nike, adidas, Reebok, New Balance, Asics, Timberland and Rockport among the more famous). Its factories in China, Indonesia and Vietnam made 130 million pairs last year, and employ nearly 250,000 workers, the majority (160,000) at three large sites around Dongguan (in the Pearl River Delta). Sales last year topped US$1.3 billion for a net profit of $229 million, and Yue Yuen holds a 17% market share. The company is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange [stock code 551] and currently trades at around HK$21 per share. Although it's a Taiwanese company, it's incorporated in Bermuda (hardly surprising).

When I worked for the Asia Monitor Resource Centre, we were involved in the delivery of an occupational health and safety program in a Yue Yuen factory (the Yue Yuen II plant in Dongguan). You can read the final report of that training program here. Nike, Reebok and adidas all offered support, along with Hong Kong NGOs and international experts. The jury is still out on how successful we were, but the project is just one of many taking place all across China.

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