Liam Casey, founder and chief executive of PCH International, a global supply chain management company, said China's export sector is evolving into a leaner industry, capable of meeting increasingly sophisticated industrial demands.
"You can't play in that low-end space. You have to add value," Casey said, lifting one of his three iPhones to show a video of a robot at a local factory he's partnered with stacking the outer shells of cellphones. Casey said the machinery replaced the jobs of about 100 workers.
PCH, named after California's famous coastal highway and identified recently by Apple as one of its suppliers, links U.S. brands with a database of 1,000 factories in the southern Pearl River Delta region. The company primarily supplies cellphone and tablet accessories.
In addition to helping manufacturers build their products, Casey's company packages the goods and fulfills online orders by sending them on air freight — tasks that would have been performed elsewhere a few years ago.