China is still the most favoured manufacturing destination in the emerging markets. But other developing countries such as Mexico and Indonesia are showing promise.
Over the past decade, China reigned comfortably atop the list of destinations for greenfield manufacturing facilities by foreign companies, with its level of inbound capital investment on manufacturing projects dwarfing that of other developing countries.
But over the past year Mexico has gained momentum as a manufacturing destination, moving up to the number two spot and edging out India by number of projects. In 2014 Mexico attracted 165 investments. Vietnam is another fast riser, ranking second by capital investment, at $19bn against China’s $40bn and Mexico’s $16bn. India, riding on an economic resurgence and an FDI boom, continues to perform well in manufacturing, attracting 149 projects worth $7bn.
Russia, suffering from a lack of investor confidence due to geopolitical tensions and economic uncertainty, has slipped down the charts. Having been ranked fifth by number of projects between 2010-14, last year it came tenth by the same measure. But large investments by Chinese automotive companies bolstered capital investment levels to $9bn.
Indonesia attracted only 56 projects last year — a sixth of the number that went to China — but for an estimated total of an impressive $12bn. The country’s performance as a manufacturing country has been strong over the past five years, with its $55bn in capital investment placing it fifth during that period.
Combining compound labour costs for a hypothetical aerospace manufacturing facility, the study shows costs in Indonesia declining 5 per cent since 2010.
Indonesia, though, stands poised to take on other Southeast Asian countries as a manufacturing hub for the region, if it could tackle its longstanding problems of bureaucracy and corruption, improve infrastructure and make other improvements to the investment climate.