Sharing production capacity: How and why China helps ease supply chain problems


Known as "the world's factory," China is at the center of global supply chains.

To figure out what China is doing to maintain its production power and logistics capacity, The Agenda's Stephen Cole speaks to Qu Qiang, assistant director of the International Monetary Institute at Renmin University of China.

Qu said that, even though China has controlled pretty well its domestic COVID-19 situation, it is still experiencing the impact of chaotic international supply chains. In Shenzhen, one of the top manufacturing cities, inventories are piled up in warehouses because companies can't ship their products outside China. Shipping has become extremely expensive and they are struggling to book any empty ships.

On dealing with new variants of the coronavirus, Qu said China has built more COVAX or other vaccination factories around the world to help those countries, especially the developing ones, to have their own methods of making medicines. He emphasized that China is not doing it as a "saint," but that it's a reasonable decision because if other parts of the world are shutting down their markets, China cannot sell its products.


Qu Qiang is the assistant director of the International Monetary Institute (IMI) at Renmin University. He has a PhD in finance from Renmin University and training in international relations, business management and linguistic studies from Beijing Foreign Studies University, Oxford and MIT. 

He is also the founding partner of Beijing-based business consultancy AKT Consulting, which provides business analysis and risk management services to multinationals and international institutions.

Qu focuses on international finance, business risk management, macroeconomics and international relations.


Mickey Howard, professor in sustainable supply chain management at Exeter University, explains the fragility of supply chain systems as well as why limited supplies of lithium could prove to be the next big conundrum for consumers.

Tom Van Woensel, director of the European Supply Chain Forum and professor of freight transport and logistics at Eindhoven University of Technology, explains the impossible task of planning for the "unknown unknowns" and why it's not always in a company's interest to build supply chains that can sufficiently cope with unlikely, but severe, natural disasters.

- Tom Bradshaw, vice-president of the UK's National Farmers' Union, joins Stephen Cole to explain why the ongoing issues should act as a wake-up call for the world to reconsider globalization and start sourcing food and products locally instead.

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