Anita Chan

Anita Chan is a professor at the China Research Centre of the University of Technology, Sydney, and has published nine books about China. A specialist in Chinese labor issues, she is the editor of Wal-Mart in China and of Labor in Vietnam, forthcoming this year.

Recent Articles

Wal-Mart’s China Connections

From production to retailing, Wal-Mart’s China operations display a 
dystopian collaboration between low-wage employer and autocratic state.

W ith more than 10,000 suppliers in China manufacturing for Wal-Mart, the great majority of its merchandize is “Made in China.” Wal-Mart is now becoming a major retail presence there as well. The company has already opened close to 200 stores in 101 Chinese cities and hopes to roll out ever more big-box emporiums across the urban Chinese landscape. What happens when the world’s biggest retailer and the world’s biggest country do business with each other? Wal-Mart isn’t the first multinational to source so heavily from Asia. Beginning in the 1970s, the relocation of labor-intensive manufacturing to Asia nurtured the growth of the Four Little Dragons (South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore), whose companies entered into contracts to manufacture for Western brand names. When China opened up to foreign investment in the early 1980s, offering vast stretches of greenfield sites, attractive tax breaks, and an abundance of labor at just one-tenth the cost of the Dragons’ wages, another...