Asia markets have dominated an annual study ranking top manufacturing destinations according to baseline, cost and risk scenarios, holding the most top quartile rankings of any region across each of the scenarios. China remains the top destination across all three scenarios, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s 2022 Manufacturing Risk Index.
The report assesses the most suitable locations for manufacturing among 45 countries in Europe and the Middle East, the Americas, and Asia Pacific regions based on variables grouped by cost, risk and general business conditions. These three variables will combine to rank 45 countries into the 3 scenarios: Baseline, Cost and Risk.
In the baseline scenario – which attributes 40% weight to both business conditions and cost, and 20% to risk – Asian markets accounted for six of the 12 top quartile positions, including all of the top five. The report noted that India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand all benefited from the availability of relatively low-cost labour combined with governments actively seeking both domestic and foreign investment in manufacturing and production.
These markets have also benefited from the China+ approach, which has seen companies looking to improve supply chain resilience by diversifying their production bases beyond China. Similar trends are also benefiting Vietnam, which has seen rapid expansion of its industrial sector over recent years. The market also benefits from geographical connectivity both within the region and to markets outside of the region. Indeed, as a result of burgeoning demand for new manufacturing facilities in Vietnam, major shipping lines such as MSC, Maersk and CMA CGM are investing in new capacity in the country to expand their operations.
On a cost basis – 60% weight attributed to cost and 20% each to conditions and risk – Asia’s dominance increased further, with Thailand, Sri Lanka and the Philippines bringing the regional total to eight of the 12 locations in the top quartile. The same seven markets from 2021 reappeared, albeit mildly reordered, in the top quartile this year; all experienced relatively stable costs year-on-year, especially compared to markets in the US and Europe which have seen significant cost increases for the key variables of electricity and labour.
Global shocks work to Asia Pacific’s advantage
Globally, increased risks saw some markets in Europe – traditionally holders of strong risk profiles – slide down the rankings, most notably as a result of the war in Ukraine and its impact on economic risks and energy costs. The United States and Canada both experienced relatively stable cost environments, although exposure to natural disasters1 and challenges to business conditions – particularly a drop in the unemployment rate and therefore access to labour – impacted their risk profiles.
Cushman & Wakefield’s Head of Insight and Analytics Asia Pacific Dr Dominic Brown said “While Asia Pacific traditionally performs well under the cost scenario, this year has seen it make significant improvements under the risk scenario. “Advanced markets have typically tended to dominate the risk scenario given their maturity and stability, but as global shocks continue the risk differential between markets has narrowed. Risks in Europe are significantly elevated on a year ago which has had the effect of making Asia Pacific more attractive as a manufacturing destination.”
Asia Pacific Head of Investor Services and Logistics & Industrial Dennis Yeo said that: “China retains top position across all scenarios, which is testament to its strength in the manufacturing space. Although there continue to be local headwinds, China’s supply chain stress has reduced to almost pre-pandemic levels. “India continues to outperform as a destination for manufacturing in south Asia and we expect the Southeast Asia markets including Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia to continue benefiting from companies pursuing a China+ strategy.”