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华盛顿邮报:展望未来之路
2016-10-26


《华盛顿邮报》   2016年10月27日 

记者 Ylan Q.Mui   图片  图片 Andrew Spear

9月29日,劳伦·哈特利(Lauren Hartley)在俄亥俄州莫瑞恩市的福耀玻璃工厂清洁并检查玻璃。

俄亥俄州莫瑞恩市——最近一天早上,在私人飞机降落俄亥俄州后不久,曹德旺,这位中国亿万富豪就动身驱车沿75号州际公路前往他所豪赌的工厂。他的筹码还有美国铁锈地带这片沙砾之地的未来。

这条俗称为“汽车巷”的公路旁的庞大厂房是当地地标之一。通用汽车20世纪20年代在建起了这座工厂。几代人以来,工厂一直为美国中间阶级中的蓝领阶层创造着就业机会。然而,大批廉价进口产品和廉价外国劳动力对俄亥俄州和美国各地的工业城镇造成了猛烈冲击。随着最后一辆SUV离开生产线,莫瑞恩市也难免沦陷的境地。

现在,这座工厂的新主人是曹德旺。曹德旺在全球化浪潮中从贫困的农村脱颖而出,成为身价亿万,中国最大汽车玻璃生产商福耀集团的董事长。而正是这同一股浪潮击垮了莫瑞恩,这种命运的逆转使中国在公众辩论和政治措辞中成为美国的主要经济对手。共和党总统候选人唐纳德·特朗普(Donald Trump)最近在这个摇摆州停留,进行他的竞选演说时,把对华贸易称为“单向道”。

世界经济的力量对比再一次发生倾斜,但福耀工厂内部已经进入了全球化的新阶段。现在中国企业正在因丧失增长动力而让专家们忧虑,这促使中国富有的投资者和企业前往海外寻求利润。它们正在以前所未有的速度并购美国企业,并雇用数以万计的美国工人。

这一变化正在改变中美两国的利益格局。在莫瑞恩,当地官员正在指望福耀能使这个由沿公路商业区和一元店组成的小镇实现复兴。但福耀很可能永远也不能完全补偿上一代所遭受的损失。

然而,曹德旺董事长仍坚信,像福耀这样的中国公司将消除两国之间的经济紧张局势。在灰蒙蒙的天空和霏霏细雨之下,他来到了这座让他花两年时间和5亿美元重建的工厂。在工厂大门外,美国国旗、俄亥俄州州旗与福耀的蓝白色旗帜共同飘扬。

“我们致力于使中美贸易关系受益,”他在一次访谈中通过翻译说道,“我们将克服所有这些问题。”

曹德旺视察福耀工厂

曹德旺几乎每个月都要来莫瑞恩,在工厂里走来走去,而这个庞大的工厂足以装下41个橄榄球场。

这座工厂是福耀在中国以外最大的投资项目,满负荷运行时预计将有2,500人在此工作。曹德旺表示,希望这座工厂能够成为福耀在美国积极扩张的基础。此前,福耀已经在伊利诺伊州开设了一座生产原片玻璃的工厂,并在密歇根州设立了一座装配工厂。总投资额将达到约10亿美元。

“这个美国工厂就是他的孩子,”莫瑞恩工厂运营经理迈克·弗伦坎普(Mike Fullenkamp)表示。

曹德旺是中国涌现出的第一批企业家,他的赤贫致富故事就是中国国情的写照。曹德旺自幼家贫,由于经常一天只能喝两碗汤,饥饿让他发出痛苦的喊叫。

“我经历过中国最困难的时期,”现年70岁的曹德旺说。“即使我想哭也没有眼泪。”

20世纪80年代中国经济开放伊始,曹德旺接管了一家濒临倒闭的工厂,并瞄准中国规模迅速壮大的中产阶级队伍,将主业迅速转向在汽车企业中越来越抢手的玻璃窗和挡风玻璃。最终,福耀实现了玻璃的对外出口。在福耀和其他企业构成的强大出口引擎的推动下,中国成为全世界仅次于美国的第二大经济体。

与此同时,美国的工业正在着衰退。俄亥俄州25年前曾拥有100多万蓝领工人。而现在,这一数字已经减少到70万以下。

大萧条期间,通用汽车在2008年的圣诞节前夕关闭了莫瑞恩工厂,当天有大约1,000名工人丢掉了工作。庞大而低矮的厂房——是这些工人曾经工作过的地方就这样荒废了数年。

衰退造成的破坏放大了当地许多选民长久以来因在全球经济大潮中掉队而感到的焦虑,而他们的失望情绪又助长了本次总统竞选周期政治上的不满情绪。本月在俄亥俄州参加竞选活动期间,民主党候选人希拉里·克林顿(Hillary Clinton)指责中国向美国市场倾销钢铁。特朗普的言论则更为尖锐。

“他们偷走了我们的工作,他们偷走了我们的企业,他们在抢我们的钱,”上周他这样告诉俄亥俄州自己的支持者们。“而我们只剩下毒品,债务,还有空空荡荡的工厂。”

但俄亥俄州的实际情况要更为复杂。包括特朗普在总统预选中的对手约翰·凯西克(John Kasich,共和党)州长在内的州政府官员向福耀承诺提供超过1千万美元的拨款和激励,成为有记录以来最高水平的激励措施之一。而作为回报,俄亥俄州的经济收入将暴增2.8亿美元。自从2014年宣布建厂规划以来,福耀雇用的员工人数比计划提高了两倍。一家玻璃回收公司即将迁入附近新建的楼房。而在察觉到福耀员工带来的客流量后,亚洲餐馆CJ Chan’s也在福耀工厂附近开设了一家分店。

“我意识到我们肩上的责任非常重大,”曹德旺在自传中这样写到。“我们所犯的任何错误都会给我本人,福耀集团乃至全体中国人抹黑。”

福耀玻璃俄亥俄州工厂

在中国,福耀可以让工厂在开业后一年内实现满负荷运转。莫瑞恩工厂的建设则是2014年开始的。

“我应该感到知足了,”曹德旺说道。“不过与我在中国开的工厂相比仍有很大差距。”

员工聘用和工资待遇是莫瑞恩工厂面临的两个最大挑战。福耀已经雇用了2,000名员工,并且正计划再招几百人。而该地区的失业率仅为4.4%,低于全国水平。这意味着可供我们选择的范围很小。历年来下岗的工人有许多去了其他地方,也有许多人已经退休。此外,莫瑞恩在衰退后也经历了持续的重建过程,引入了制造业之外的交通、卫生保健甚至科技等其他行业。这就加剧针对工人展开的竞争。

对福耀来说,至关重要的是要在保持现有员工队伍稳定的同时提高他们的生力能力。工厂尚未成立工会,而工人的起薪为一小时约12美元。在最近在工厂与中美双方高层主管举行的一次会议上,曹德旺因未能及时调整公司的奖金制度,并为员工提供更诱人的津贴而感到失望。

“是因为你们对我没有信心,还是你们不尊重我?”“我们需要看到行动。行动是解决问题最简单的对策。”

中国的办事方式也在发生着改变。在经历过多年的两位数增长后,中国经济增速正在迅速放缓。全世界已经充斥着中国货,从而减少了对中国产品的需求。上个月,中国出口额较前一年同期下降了10%。工资水平的提高以及中产阶级的壮大意味着企业现在不能再依靠廉价劳动力来填补工厂的空缺。

为了给下一轮增长提供更多动力,福耀以及其他中国企业不得不把目光投向国外。据经济合作与发展组织统计,中国的对外直接投资从2005年的137亿美元激增至2015年的1878亿美元,增长了1,294%。咨询公司荣鼎集团预计,今年上半年中国对美直接投资将达创纪录的180亿美元。

“中国现在才开始逐步跻身于富裕国家的行列,”康奈尔大学贸易政策教授埃斯瓦尔·普拉萨德(Eswar Prasad)表示。“我认为我们看到的是主流。”

然而,在美国设立的公司并不必然会融入美国的社会。福耀表示,美国员工占员工总数的90%,其余10%是中国人。曹德旺向当地大学捐款,并接待松树俱乐部(当地一家著名的牛排馆)的客人来工厂参观,这加深了福耀与俄亥俄州社区的联系,尽管他本人并不吃牛肉。

福耀玻璃俄亥俄州工厂员工正在盘点玻璃

文化和语言方面也存在显著的障碍。曹德旺总是言简意赅,这让翻译有足够的时间跟上他的节奏,但给人的感觉是更像是官方声明而不是私下交谈。在关于职工奖金制度的讨论结束后,曹德旺宣布了第二天上午会议的时间并结束了会议。随后,他走到外面吸了支烟,然后乘坐轿车返回酒店。

曹德旺一路上凝视着窗外,但下午会议紧张的气氛依然在他的脑海里挥之不去。

“有时候,”他说,“我会沮丧得快要昏过去。”

中国在世界各地越来越旺盛的投资需求引起了严格的审查。

在美国,立法机构和监管机构以国家安全受到潜在威胁为由审查了多笔中国投资者参与的引人注目的交易。监管机构一再搁置中国保险公司安邦保险收购纽约著名的华尔道夫-阿斯多里亚(Waldorf Astoria hotel)酒店的计划。美国总统和其他显贵经常在该饭店下榻。他们否决了中国风险资本集团对荷兰飞利浦公司旗下一家美国照明公司的收购提案。此外,立法机构还要求对中国对芝加哥证券交易所的收购实施审查。

福耀并未面临类似问题,但也曾陷入美国监管机构提出的反倾销诉讼,并最终胜诉。正在进行的总统选举往往会拿民众对中国的愤怒作文章。在这样的背景下,曹德旺表示相信新厂将有助于修补中美两国之间的关系。

“显然,其中许多问题都有政治因素。我们对此早已习以为常,”他说。“我坚信物质利益终将获胜。”

曹德旺也有想对美国说的话:衰退暴露了美国的核心问题:经济不平等,政治僵局以及华尔街复杂的金融工程与莫瑞恩等地的工业生产之间不断扩大的分歧。他表示,除非能再次迎合全世界的需求,否则美国不会实现真正意义上的复苏。

“为了实现长期繁荣,美国需要坚持成为制造业强国的梦想,亚虎娱乐登录,亚虎娱乐网址,亚虎娱乐:”他在自传中这样写到。

 

 

《华盛顿邮报》英文原文

 

A view of the road ahead

A Chinese billionaire is staking his legacy — and thousands of American jobs — on this factory in Ohio

By Ylan Q. Mui    October 26 ,2016

 

MORAINE, OHIO — Shortly after his private plane landed in Ohio on a recent morning, the Chinese billionaire set off down Interstate 75 to inspect the factory on which he has staked his legacy and the future of this gritty patch of the American Rust Belt.

The sprawling plant is a local landmark, just off the highway unofficially known as Auto Alley. General Motors built it in the 1920s, and for generations it created the kind of blue-collar jobs that defined America’s middle class. But by the time the last SUV rolled off the assembly line here, the city of Moraine had succumbed to the flood of inexpensive imports and cheap foreign labor that battered industrial towns in Ohio and across the country.

Now Cho Tak Wong is in charge of the factory. The billionaire chairman of Fuyao Group, the biggest maker of automotive glass in China, Cho rose from rural poverty by riding the same wave of globalization that devastated Moraine — a living example of the reversal of fortune that has turned China into the United States’ chief economic rival in public debates and political rhetoric. At a recent campaign stop in this perennial swing state, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called trade with the country “a one-way street.”

But the next chapter of globalization is already unfolding inside Fuyao’s factory, as the balance of power in the world economy tilts once more. Now it is China that experts fear is losing steam, forcing the country’s wealthy investors and corporations to seek out profits overseas. They are snapping up U.S. businesses at a record rate and employing tens of thousands of U.S. Workers.

The shift is realigning Chinese and U.S. interests. In Moraine, local officials are counting on Fuyao to help revitalize this town of strip malls and dollar stores. Yet it probably will never be enough to replace what has been lost over the past generation. Nor is it likely to restore the momentum that is slipping away in China’s economy.

Still, Cho is convinced that such companies as his will ease the economic tensions between the two countries. Under gray skies and drizzling rain that day, he made his way to the factory that he has spent two years and a half-billion dollars renovating. The street it sits on has been renamed Fuyao Avenue. Outside the front entrance, the American and Ohio state flags fly alongside Fuyao’s blue-and-white banner.

“We’re committed to working to benefit both the Chinese and American trade relations,” he said in an interview, speaking through a translator. “All these problems will go away.”

----

Cho comes to Moraine almost every month to walk the floor of his factory, large enough to fit 41 football fields.

The plant is Fuyao’s single biggest investment anywhere. As many as 2,500 people are expected to work here when the plant is at full capacity, and Cho said he hopes it will become the anchor for an aggressive expansion into the United States that has already included a factory in Illinois to make raw glass and a facility in Michigan to put the finishing touches on its products. The total investment has reached about $1 billion.

“This U.S.A. is his baby,” said Mike Fullenkamp, operations manager of the plant in Moraine.

Cho was among China’s first wave of entrepreneurs, and his rag-to-riches story mirrors the country’s own. Growing up in impoverished Fujian province under the strict communist regime of the 1960s and 1970s, Cho often ate only two bowls of soup each day, leaving him so hungry that he would scream in agony.

“I’ve lived through the toughest times in China,” said Cho, now 70.“Even if I want to cry, I have no tears.”

When China began opening up its economy in the 1980s, Cho took over a flailing factory and reconfigured it to produce the glass windows and windshields increasingly in demand among car companies catering to China’s swelling middle class. Eventually, Fuyao began shipping glass to other countries, feeding the mammoth engine of exports that transformed China into the second-largest economy in the world, behind only the United States.

Meanwhile, U.S. industry was fading. Twenty-five years ago, more than 1 million people in Ohio held factory jobs. Now, that number is less than 700,000.

GM shut down its plant in Moraine just before Christmas 2008, amid the Great Recession. About 1,000 workers lost their jobs that day, and the vast, low-slung plant where they once worked spent years in darkness.

“When it was empty, it was really depressing-looking,” Moraine Mayor Elaine Allison said. “Here’s this monolith of building just empty, compared to how full of life it was back in the day.”

The wreckage of the recession amplified the anxiety many voters here have long felt over getting left behind by the global economy, and their frustration helped breed the discontented politics of this presidential campaign cycle. At a campaign stop in Ohio this month, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton called out China for dumping steel into the U.S. market. Trump was even more pointed.

“They’re stealing our jobs, they’re stealing our companies, they’re taking our money,” he told his supporters in the state last week. “We have drugs, we have debt, we have empty factories.”

But the reality in Ohio is more complicated. State officials — including Gov. John Kasich (R), who ran against Trump in the presidential primary — courted Fuyao with more than $10 million in grants and incentives, one of their biggest packages on record. In return, Ohio is anticipating a $280 million windfall for its economy.

Since announcing its plans for a factory in 2014, Fuyao has tripled the number of workers it intends to hire. A glass recycling company is moving into a new building nearby. And Asian restaurant CJ Chan’s opened a second location near Fuyao after noticing an uptick in business from company employees — including Cho.

“I came to realize that the responsibility on our shoulders was really weighty,” Cho wrote in his self-published autobiography. “Any mistake on our part would bring disgrace not only on me, but also on Fuyao Group and the Chinese people as a whole.”

----

In China, Fuyao can run a factory at full capacity within a year after it opens. In Moraine, the company has been working on its plant since 2014. “I should be satisfied,” Cho said. “But in comparison to my plants in China, there’s still a large gap.”

Two of the biggest challenges are hiring and pay. Fuyao has already brought on 2,000 workers and is seeking hundreds more — a challenge when the region’s unemployment rate is just 4.4 percent, below the national average, resulting in a smaller pool of available employees. Many workers who had been laid off over the years have since moved away or retired. In addition, Moraine has also steadily rebuilt after the recession, courting business beyond manufacturing — in transportation, health care and even technology — and that is increasing competition for workers.

For Fuyao, that means it is crucial to hold on to existing employees and get them to produce more. The factory is not unionized, and pay starts at about $12 an hour. During a recent meeting at the factory with his top Chinese and U.S. lieutenants, Cho grew frustrated at delays in making the company’s bonuses more enticing for employees.

“Is it because you don’t have confidence in me or don’t respect me?” Cho asked the executives. “We need to see action. Action is the most simple countermeasure to our problems.

But how China does things is changing, too. Its economy is rapidly slowing down after years of double-digit growth. The world is already awash in Chinese goods, reducing the demand for its products. Last month, exports plunged by 10 percent compared with a year earlier. Rising wages and a burgeoning middle class mean companies can no longer rely on cheap labor to fill their factories.

To fuel the next wave of growth, Fuyao and other Chinese companies have to look beyond their country’s borders. Direct investment in foreign countries skyrocketed from $13.7 billion in 2005 to $187.8 billion a decade later — an increase of 1,294 percent, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Consulting firm Rhodium Group estimates that the United States alone received a record $18 billion during the first half of this year. “It’s only now that China is becoming a rich economy,” said Eswar Prasad, a professor of trade policy at Cornell University. “I think we’re seeing the leading edge.”

Being in the United States does not make a company American, however. Fuyao said that while 90 percent of its employees are American, 10 percent are Chinese nationals. Cho has deepened relationships in Ohio by donating to the local university and entertaining clients at the Pine Club, a famous local steakhouse — even though he doesn’t eat beef.

Yet the cultural and language barriers are high. Cho rarely speaks more than necessary, giving his translators plenty of time to keep up but leaving his statements feeling like formal pronouncements rather than casual conversation. After discussing new plans for worker bonuses, Cho wrapped up the meeting with his executives by scheduling another one the next morning and then went outside to smoke a cigarette. He got into a car to head back to the presidential suite of his hotel.

Cho gazed out the window along the way, but the tension of the afternoon’s meeting on his mind. “Sometimes,” he said, “I get so frustrated that I am almost half dead.”

----

Around the world, China’s growing appetite for investment is attracting intense scrutiny.

In the United States, lawmakers and regulators have examined several high-profile deals by Chinese investors as potential threats to national security. Regulators held up plans by Chinese insurance firm Anbang to purchase New York’s famed Waldorf Astoria hotel, which often accommodates the president and other dignitaries. They scuttled a bid by a Chinese venture capitalist for a U.S. lighting company owned by Netherlands-based Philips. And lawmakers have called for reviews of a Chinese offer to buy the Chicago Stock Exchange.

Fuyao has not had to confront those concerns, but it has tangled with U.S. regulators in the past over anti-dumping charges that were eventually reversed. Now, amid a presidential election that has often exploited anger against China, Cho said he believes the new factory can help repair relations with the United States.

“A lot of this is politics, obviously. We’re also used to it,” he said. “I firmly believe that ultimately substance will win out.

”Cho has a message for the United States, too: The recession exposed the nation’s fault lines: economic inequality, political gridlock and a widening chasm between the complex financial engineering on Wall Street and industrial production in places like Moraine. The United States will not truly recover, Cho said, until the country is once again making things that are in demand around the world.

“To seek long-term prosperity, the U.S. needs to forge its dream of becoming a power of manufacturing,” he wrote in his autobiography.

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