China to be displaced by India as factory of the world -

Developed countries including the USA and most of Western Europe face a demographic nightmare because of an ageing population but that's true of China and Taiwan too, a senior executive from government agency the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) said today.

Jack (chau-Chyun) Chang, deputy general director of ITRI, spelled out the harsh facts to an audience of journalists from around the world at a press conference here today.

He said that in India the population was getting younger, while in China, Taiwan and in the developed countries, people were getting older.

China was suffering because of the party policy that families could only have one child - a policy that had been in place for over 20 years. He said that China would become a "rapidly ageing society" in the next 10-20 years, because of that policy.

He said that in the coastal region of China, there was already a labour problem. "This will have a very profound effect on the role of China as a world factory," he said. Taiwan, he said, has also become an ageing society.

The Taiwanese government has to decide whether it should extend the retirement age, or relax its immigration policy to solve the problem.

In any case, ITRI, which has created a tiger out of Taiwan by sponsoring the development of the first IC chip, and has over 6,000 employees, has hard and fast figures about Taiwan that must surely confound any sceptics.

For example, tiny Taiwan, with a population of 23.5 million or so, has foreign exchange reserves to the tune of $348.2 billion. Its imports match its exports. If the Taiwanese government doled out that money to each of its citizens, they'd be perfectly happy, said Mr Chang.

Mr Chang produced a very interesting set of statistics on the Chinese (ROC) industry which we've uploaded to TechEye, and which you can find here. The facts and figures are indisputable. Taiwan is the engine of South East Asia. And, indeed, the world. No wonder China claims it as a province, like Tibet.  And surely not because it has the furniture of the Forbidden City in Beijing.