SHANGHAI – Factory workers demanding better wages and working conditions are hastening the eventual end of an era of cheap costs that helped make southern coastal China the world's factory floor.
A series of strikes over the past two months have been a rude wakeup call for the many foreign companies that depend on China's low costs to compete overseas, from makers of Christmas trees to manufacturers of gadgets like the iPad.
Where once low-tech factories and scant wages were welcomed in a China eager to escape isolation and poverty, workers are now demanding a bigger share of the profits. The government, meanwhile, is pushing foreign companies to make investments in areas it believes will create greater wealth for China, like high technology.
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