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OM in the News: The Top 10 Manufacturing Countries in 2020

December 11, 2015

chinaA new study on future global competitiveness, reported by Industry Week (Dec.9, 2015), predicts that the U.S. will dislodge China as the most competitive manufacturing nation in the world in 2020. “Manufacturing competitiveness, increasingly propelled by advanced technologies, is converging the digital and physical worlds, within and beyond the factory to both customers and suppliers, creating a highly responsive, innovative, and competitive global manufacturing landscape,” says the report. While emerging markets continue to push the leaders, the manufacturing powerhouses of the 20th century (the U.S., Germany, and Japan),  hold 3 of the top 4 positions currently and in the future. The study also suggests that Brazil and Russia seem to have lost their allure as highly competitive manufacturing locations today. Here are the rankings:

# 1 The U.S.: By 2020, the U.S will overtake China to earn the top spot for the most competitive nation in the world, due the country’s investment in research, technology, and innovation.

#2 China: Shenzen is a large manufacturing center that has sprung up quickly (see photo).

#3 Germany: Germany is pushing its leadership in industrial production research and development toward “smart production.”

#4 Japan: The manufacturing sector accounts for 19% of Japan’s GDP.

#5 India: It has a large population of engineers and factory workers, its intellectual property is widely respected, and it is easy to find English-speaking managers there.

#6 Korea: The biopharmaceutical industry is an important manufacturing sector to South Korea.

#7 Mexico: Electronics manufacturing activity in Mexico is widespread. In the last 15 years, $14 billion in investments have been made to make production stronger and more efficient.

#8 Taiwan: Five of the world’s largest producers of TFT-flat screens are Taiwan-based.

#9 Canada: Montreal’s aerospace sector is comprised of more than 210 companies which employ 43,500.

#10 Singapore: More than 30 biomedical sciences companies have established regional headquarters in the country.

Classroom discussion questions:
1. Why not Brazil and Russia?

2. What makes U.S. manufacturing more competitive than 30 years ago?


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