The economic crisis is taking its toll in China, with factory closures, a sharp fall in exports, and 20 million unemployed. Although the trend is worrying in a land that has become the world’s workshop, many see the crisis as opening up new opportunities. We visit Wenzhou, one of the country’s industrial powerhouses.
Many European-Chinese who originally came from here are now interested in investing in their native land, attracted by China’s strong economic growth. On the down side, workers drawn to the cities by factory jobs are having a lean time. Many of these rural migrants have been laid off because of the crisis and some have returned home to China’s poorest provinces and wait for better times. The government is now pursuing policies to support these areas and promote economic development, heralding a new stage in China’s great leap forward.