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Chinese Moldmaking Industry

July 23, 2011

Filed under: manufacturing — Terry Wohlers @ 06:59

The April 2011 issue of European Tool & Mould Making magazine published an interesting article titled “Tool and Mould Making in China: Opportunities and Risks.” This industry reached $17 billion in 2010 and provided jobs to 500,000 people, according to the article. China exported molds and other tooling valued at $2.2 billion last year—19.2% more than the year before. Most (69%) of it was for molding plastic and rubber parts.

As many as 30,000 tooling and moldmaking companies are in business in China, according to the article, with 20 industrial parks dedicated exclusively to this industry. The revenue generated per employee is in the range $15,400 to $30,900. Few of the companies have achieved western standards, so most are not active outside the country. The article claims that slightly more than 100 of the companies (less than 1%) have reached a level of competence that is acceptable internationally.

The perception among some in the west is that China employs many highly-skilled workers at moldmaking companies. The article points out, however, that only 15% are considered technically-skilled employees. With this industry still in its infancy, companies are gaining experience as they work toward raising their standard level of quality. Meanwhile, the protection of intellectual property continues to be a problem that concerns potential customers outside the country.