For nearly two decades China has been the world’s low-cost factory. Although this remains a strong component of the world’s economic dynamic, China is beginning to see that fray at the edges. Energy prices, increasing wages and protectionist posturing from trading partners is putting pressure on certain industries. Especially vulnerable among these are many light industry areas which are seeing new direct investment and existing production moving to even lower-cost markets like Vietnam. This trend will increasingly spread across the production spectrum forcing Chinese manufacturers to move up the quality ladder rather than being a pure quantity/cost play. When they move in this direction it will be an even more tempting opportunity to properly develop and export Chinese brands. More from Xinhua.