The globalisation of manufacturing is making it an increasingly competitive market. No country is competing more actively than China. According to a 2019 study, China is a modern manufacturing powerhouse, accounting for over a quarter – 28.7 percent – of global manufacturing output.

The international nature of manufacturing makes accurate, high-quality translations more crucial than ever. Manufacturers of exported goods are facing ever more demanding challenges to ensure that manuals, drawings and reports can be accessed in multiple languages.

As part of Chinese Language Day, we are looking in-depth at Chinese manufacturing and how it is navigating the perfect storm of Covid, stock shortages and logistical challenges.

How Covid has affected manufacturing in China

The most significant – and most talked about – reason for China’s current manufacturing malaise is the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid, and the resulting lockdowns, have proved a challenge for the country’s manufacturing workforce, with many factories being forced to cope with increased – and in some cases prolonged – employee absences due to illness.

In the recent lockdown of Shenzhen, manufacturing giants including Toyota, Volkswagen and Apple supplier Foxconn were forced to suspend operations, which caused further disruption to an already backlogged supply chain.

The electronic chip shortage

Due largely to the pause in manufacturing during the Covid-19 lockdowns, the world is currently suffering from a shortage of electronic chips. Millions of everyday products including cars, smartphones and kitchen appliances all rely on electronic chips to function.

The decrease in supply has made it impossible to meet current industry demand. As a result, many popular products are in short supply or have long waiting lists. Ford have had to temporarily halt production at two of their European factories, with workers at their German plants in Saarlouis and Cologne being told to take leave as the factories await the delivery of additional chips.

Logistical challenges

Together with global struggles in producing products, there are also logistical challenges to navigate. The UK endured a fuel crisis earlier this year, which, following Brexit, put an already strained import and export equilibrium into complete meltdown, resulting in extensive delays moving imports through ports and on to consumers. The Russia/Ukraine hostilities have caused further unrest in the import/export trade, with freight being diverted and timelines increasing.

What does the future hold?

Despite the numerous challenges, China seems to be standing firm. The country’s longstanding manufacturing prowess places it in a good position to weather the ongoing challenges. In these difficult times, ensuring effective communication is a key element of successful manufacturing. Without the right translation partner, communications across linguistic and cultural borders can become fraught.

At Albion Languages, we work closely with our customers to fully appreciate the challenges in their markets. We carefully adapt our services to offer tailored support. As the lead times for manufacturing processes become shortened and backlogs require faster production lines, so the need for quickly produced, accurate translations increases. To speak to our team of experts about your translation needs, please get in touch today.