'Cheap China' era ends as factory workers wise up

Posted by Kitara Julian On 8:33 PM


Dongguan, China (CNN) -- The Chinese factory floor ain't what it used to be. Heavy industry machines now sit idle, where once hundreds of workers would have crammed into Dickensian sweat shops, slaving away for little pay.

China's army of migrant workers are smarter than ever, demanding higher pay and better conditions, armed with tough government labor laws.

Ben Schwall has ridden the wave of China's economic boom and now says the tide is turning.

"When I first came to China you had 200 people outside the factory gate trying to get in," he says. "People would ask favors -- 'can you get my cousin a job?' Now that's gone and I'm asking -- 'do you have a cousin who can come help me?'"

Schwall is an old-style middle man. For two decades he's matched product-hungry Western companies with Chinese manufacturers. Read More

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