China's At-Risk Factories

As the U.S. slouches toward a recession, the "workshop of the world" is looking vulnerable

China Pix / Getty

Overheated Chinese manufacturers, like this one in Baotou, face rising costs and fears of a global slowdown.

China's near miraculous economic rise has been built on the smarts of men like Cheng Wei-lun and the sweat of the 800 workers he employs as chief executive of the Tianji Wooden Products Co. Based in Guangdong province in southern China, the company, which exports $10 million worth of toys and children's furniture annually, is like thousands of other small manufacturers that help form the backbone of the country's formidable export-manufacturing machine. But that frame is showing cracks, and all the brains and brawn in the world might not be enough to rescue Tianji Wooden Products. Cheng's costs have gone up...

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