From the overwhelming reports of “busy orders” in the first half of the year to the rumors of “lack of orders” in the second half of the year, orders in Southeast Asia seem to be as ups and downs as the stock market.
According to many people engaged in foreign trade export business in Southeast Asian countries, they have indeed experienced a significant decrease in orders in recent months. Reduced demand in Europe and the United States is the main reason, but it is also related to the gradual stabilization after the outbreak of extraordinary orders in March and April this year. Some experts predict that this situation may continue until April next year.
It is worth noting that in the first half of this year, whether Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries have the ability to replace China as the new “world factory” once became the focus of overseas public opinion. At present, “difficult to replace” has become the industry consensus.
So, what is the actual order situation in Southeast Asian countries now? What are the influencing factors of order changes? What impact will it have on China?
01 Orders in Southeast Asia have dropped sharply, and small and medium-sized enterprises have been hit harder
“The factory where I work mainly produces European and American clothing. It has been on holiday in batches since September, and there are very few orders.” Xiao Zhang is a Chinese who works in the management of a small and medium-sized garment factory in Cambodia. He said that Cambodia has Epidemic control has never been strict. Last year, we experienced a wave of order transfer dividends due to the successive lockdowns in neighboring countries. However, as neighboring countries gradually “laid back”, the orders previously transferred to Cambodia were transferred again. In the second half of this year, Since then, orders have dropped sharply.
Mr. Li, who is engaged in the timber business in Vietnam, found that the business of some downstream furniture factories has also slowed down. “On Vietnam National Day, many of my customers took a seven-day holiday. In previous years, it was usually two days. Many customers have reduced their order quantities.” .”
Liu Xiaoming, executive president of Hebei Unaid Energy Saving Technology Co., Ltd., said that in previous years, the company would receive orders from Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines. This year, especially recently, orders have been relatively lukewarm. “Since this year, there have been no orders from Malaysia and the Philippines,” he said. There are fewer orders, and Vietnam had no orders for two months.”
This round of reduction in foreign trade orders in Southeast Asia has severely affected small and medium-sized enterprises, while some large enterprises with industrial chain advantages have been less affected.
Mr. Su is the person in charge of an A-share listed company in the textile industry in the Yangtze River Delta. His company started operating in Vietnam more than ten years ago. Mr. Su said: “The extent to which each company is affected is related to its positioning and status in the industry chain.”
Mr. Su said that the current manufacturing industry in Southeast Asia is not all about cost and low price. Most long-term customers value the quality and delivery certainty brought by the improvement of the industrial chain. “Our company’s industrial chain layout is based on Starting from raw materials and diversified layout in various overseas bases, these factors make customers rely heavily on us.”
It is these advantages that allow the company to occupy a higher position in the industry chain, so the company’s orders are not significantly affected. According to Mr. Su’s observation, there are two major trends in the orders of major European and American customers. One is the trend of centralized procurement, especially the better brands are gradually phasing out small and medium-sized enterprises; the other is the transfer of traditional clothing and other orders to Southeast Asia. the trend of.
Xiao Zhang from Cambodia also mentioned the trend of orders being concentrated in leading companies. The decline in orders in Cambodia is mainly concentrated in small companies, and large companies are more capable of resisting risks. “In addition, due to Cambodia’s weak industrial development foundation, current export orders are mainly concentrated in textiles, clothing and footwear, as well as simple categories of processing such as assembly that China has transferred to the past. It is at a disadvantage in the industrial chain and will be more affected.”
Zhao Qian, president of the Ho Chi Minh City branch of the China Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, said that compared with the peak shipment period in March and April in the first half of this year, it is now an ideal situation for Vietnam’s woodware industry to reach 50% of its orders. Many companies only have 30% of the peak period, some small companies may only have about 10%, and the situation is similar for footwear and clothing.
A survey by the Ho Chi Minh City Arts and Crafts and Wood Processing Association (HAWA) shows that more than 90% of member companies have reduced export orders; 73% of companies have reduced their income by 10% to 90%; 65% of companies have laid off employees.
02 The main reason is the slowdown in demand in Europe and the United States. Experts predict that it will last at least until next year.
High inflation combined with shrinking consumer demand in major European and American economies is considered to be the main reason for the recent significant reduction in export orders in many Southeast Asian countries.
“The world is experiencing a similar situation.” Cai Rong, deputy secretary-general and assistant researcher at Peking University HSBC Think Tank, said that the most important fundamental factor supporting the growth of export orders is the global economy, especially the growth in demand from major developed economies such as the United States and the European Union.
However, since 2022, the world economy has faced two major negative impacts: high inflation and tight money. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) report shows that more than 100 countries around the world have inflation rates above 6%. The IMF lowered its global economic growth forecast for the third time in July this year, and the risk of global economic growth slowing in the second half of the year continues to rise. At the same time, major global economies such as Europe and the United States have raised interest rates. The continued rise in inflation has pushed up the prices of a variety of daily consumer goods. Consumer demand in Europe and the United States has shrunk sharply, and many developed economies are facing the risk of slowing down economic growth momentum.
“Against this backdrop, global export order growth has slowed or even declined, and Southeast Asian countries, as…Ouyang Cheng, director of the International E-commerce Research Center, believes that the growth rate differentiation of Chinese enterprises’ exports of upstream and downstream clothing and consumer electronics products to Southeast Asian countries on the international platform reflects, to a certain extent, the structural adjustment of the industrial development of local countries, that is, intermediate goods. and raw materials have increasingly become important products imported from China. Combined with China Customs general trade data, China’s textile exports to the 10 ASEAN countries in 2021 were US$49.12 billion, a year-on-year increase of 24.9%, far exceeding the 4% year-on-year growth rate to the United States. Among them, clothing intermediates and raw materials represented by textile fabrics and yarns account for more than 80%.
The report also shows that from 2017 to 2021, the average growth rate of international stations’ exports to major countries has remained high. Among them, the average growth rate of exports to the United States and South Korea exceeds the overall growth rate of the platform. Developed countries and regions such as Europe and the United States are still the main markets for China’s cross-border e-commerce exports. However, a vertical comparison of the growth rates of international stations’ exports to various countries in recent years shows that ASEAN countries have become the most eye-catching high-growth markets for international stations’ exports in recent years. In 2021, the export growth rates of international stations to Malaysia, India and the Philippines increased by 42% respectively. %, 32% and 30%.
05 China’s position in the global value chain is difficult to be replaced
Research results previously released by the Institute of World Economics and Politics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences show that 53% of Vietnamese industries have competitive relationships with Chinese domestic industries such as general production location transfers, and 42% have complementary relationships with Chinese domestic industries such as cross-border value chain trade. . However, looking at the full range of Chinese industries, China still has an overwhelming industrial advantage over Vietnam.
“The survey results show that China’s garment industry currently has the advantage of producing more than 70% of the world’s raw materials, has the world’s leading independent technical and equipment advantages in spinning, weaving, printing and dyeing, as well as flexible supply and quick returns for small orders based on a complete link system. production capacity.” Ouyang Cheng said that the “one-hour parts matching circle” capability that can be achieved in the consumer electronics industry makes it difficult for Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam to replace China’s important position in the global value chain.
With the help of customs statistics, more information can be revealed by comparing the cross-border e-commerce exports of international stations with the same type of products exported by general trade. From the first quarter of 2019 to the second quarter of 2022, the average growth rate of exports of clothing raw materials in customs general trade (42.2%) is higher than the average growth rate of exports of finished clothing products (10.4%). The average growth rate difference between the two exports is 31.8% , there is a divergent trend.
During the same period, the average export growth rate of clothing raw materials from the international station (45.2%) was close to the growth rate of customs general trade exports, but the growth rate of finished garment exports (22.8%) was significantly faster than the growth rate of customs general trade exports. The growth rates of the two were different. (22.4%) is smaller than the general trade export level of customs data. The comparison in the consumer electronics industry is even more striking.
It can be seen that for the clothing and consumer electronics industries, the degree of industry chain differentiation through cross-border e-commerce online exports is weaker than the degree of industry differentiation in general trade where offline is the main form of export. In addition, the report found that the cross-border e-commerce model represented by international stations can help merchants to a certain extent alleviate the impact of rising costs and prices of raw materials, labor, etc.
“From a practical point of view, the cross-border e-commerce platform represented by Alibaba International Station has a more complete new infrastructure business infrastructure, a full-process cross-border digital service system, and has accumulated tools for cross-border business market insight and judgment, building a business Market entity integrity assessment systems, etc., can help Chinese foreign trade companies continuously improve their digital capabilities and enhance the certainty of going overseas, thereby establishing new comparative advantages in cross-border trade in the digital era.” Ouyang Cheng believes that the digital transformation of global trade has created a new opportunity for China’s cross-border trade It provides soil and opportunities for the establishment of new comparative advantages in the environmental industry chain. The advanced practices and capacity reserves of China’s cross-border e-commerce platforms will provide important support for more Chinese industries to participate in international competition and cooperation and accelerate globalization. At the same time, they will contribute actively to China’s construction of a new development pattern and the realization of high-quality development.