Functional Upgrading in China's Export Processing Sector
Ari Van Assche and
Johannes Van Biesebroeck ()
No 11967, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers
Functional upgrading occurs when a firm acquires more sophisticated functions within an existing value chain that require a higher skill content. In this paper, we analyze if there is evidence of this type of upgrading in China's export processing regime by investigating dynamics in the relative prevalence of Import & Assembly (IA) versus Pure Assembly (PA) processing trade over the period 2000-2013. Firms in both regimes provide similar manufacturing services to foreign companies, but IA firms also conduct the sophisticated tasks of quality control, searching, financing and storing imported materials. Consistent with a trend of functional upgrading, we show that the share of IA trade in total processing trade has increased rapidly during the period 2000-2006, both overall and within product categories. Furthermore, we find that this trend has gone hand-in-hand with improvements in a sector's labor productivity and unit values. Against expectations, we find that this process has slowed down notably during the period 2006-2013.
Keywords: global value chains; industrial development; Manufacturing (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D2 F1 L2 O1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cna, nep-int and nep-tra
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Journal Article: Functional upgrading in China's export processing sector (2018)
Working Paper: Functional upgrading in China’s export processing sector (2017)
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