Conflicts and contradictions, but cooperation clearly wins
THE DOCUMENTARY AMERICAN FACTORY shows cooperation and communication can overcome various contradictions and divergences in business operations to achieve a win-win result in the era of globalization. China Youth Daily comments:
The documentary recently went viral on the internet in China, sparking much discussion. It focuses on the flagship overseas factory of Fuyao Glass in the United States, and shows real scenes in the factory that highlight many profound issues related to the cultural differences between China and the US.
When the founder of Fuyao Glass, Cao Dewang, decided to invest in the US, it drew a lot of attention. Under the framework of the international division of labor in the past few decades, seldom have enterprises of developing countries set up factories in developed countries. That is because the costs, especially labor costs in developed countries such as the US, are much higher than those in developing countries such as China.
Because of this, it seemed a strange choice for a labor-intensive enterprise such as Fuyao Glass to build a factory in the US. But for Cao, the US has cost advantages in tax and logistics despite its higher labor costs, which made it worthwhile building a factory in the US.
The documentary has recorded the entire process of the factory being built and how the factory operates. More important, it reflects how operators and workers with different cultural backgrounds are exploring a path of international cooperation.
Frictions and contradictions can be seen everywhere in the documentary due to cultural differences. The US employees are not familiar with the collective model that is very common in Chinese factories, such as shouting out slogans and singing the theme song of the enterprise. The Chinese managers are not satisfied with the US workers' low efficiency compared with the Chinese workers.
More important, whether the factory should establish a US-style labor union and how to balance workers' welfare and the enterprise's goal of reducing costs and improving efficiency are direct conflicts between the two parties.
Despite all the frictions and conflicts, the factory has proved to be a success. It is not only profitable but also helps the local community solve its employment issue. The documentary demonstrates that cooperation and communication can achieve mutually beneficial results despite cultural differences.