Our new masters from the East

This week JCB announced that they were to up-scale its factories in India, as the so-called 'emerging' markets here more profitable than western market.

This week JCB announced that they were to up-scale its factories in India, as the so-called 'emerging' markets here more profitable than western market. At the same time, American crane giant Manitowoc has announced a deal with a Chinese company to produce more mobile units. Other well-established brands, including Komatsu, Liebherr and even Caterpillar have all issued stories and statements about use and productivity in the new world, whether it be about paving the Olympic venues in China, or modern assembly facilities here in the UAE.

Brands that no-one had heard of five years ago are becoming an increasingly common sight too, as site managers realise which far-eastern products are of an acceptable quality.

More tellingly though, the stories of success in Europe and America are harder to come by, as the credit crunch increases its bite and machine production remains at best static and at worse, scaled down.

There is no danger of any of the major firms closing their plants in the west, or in Japan - The global demand is simply to big for that, even if production moves eastwards. There is every chance that western markets will recover soon as well. However, it is clear that the balance of power on the yellow planet is shifting, and the new rulers are becoming evident. Contrary to popular belief it isn't us here in the Gulf, or the Indians, or even the Chinese.

No, in a global society, where automation comes as standard and every movement of the stick or bucket are logged, the new bosses are the machines themselves.

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Construction Week - Issue 767
Sep 01, 2020