Moving Beyond Cheap Labour? Industrial and Social Upgrading in the Garment and LED Industries of the Pearl River Delta

Florian Butollo


Based on field studies in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) in 2010 and 2011, specific paths of industrial upgrading in the garment and IT industries are identified. The analysis reveals that there exists a multiplicity of upgrading trajectories, all of which have different implications for skill development and the character of work. While the modernization of industries relies on the input of higher skilled work, primarily in the fields of R&D and marketing, this barely is the case with regard to manufacturing. While labour intensity in the examined cases is diminishing in absolute or relative terms, internal divisions between low-skilled and high-skilled work are reconfigured rather than overcome.

Full Text: PDF (English)

Logo von Hamburg University Press und der Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg Carl von Ossietzky Logo des GIGA-Institut Logo der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft Logo der Leibniz-Gesellschaft