Cao Dewang became a billionaire by making glass for the world's top carmakers, but his recent decision to move part of his operations to the United States has some asking whether the days of China as a manufacturing haven are over.
In The Beijing News on Monday, Fuyao Glass chairman Cao, 70, was quoted as saying the U.S. was a cheaper and better place to make glass because taxes were much lower than in China. His comments come as some companies are reconsidering their presence in China, and as U.S. president-elect Donald Trump is trying to lure firms back to the U.S. under his "Make America Great Again" slogan.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government is levying higher taxes and increasing social welfare payment obligations on companies, making it harder to run a factory.
"I just told the truth and spoke out about the problems," Cao said, explaining his decision to invest US$1 billion in the U.S., including taking over a former General Motors plant in Dayton, Ohio.
He said manufacturing businesses in the mainland paid about 35 per cent more in taxes than their counterparts in the U.S., and value-added tax had become the biggest burden for companies.