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China Daily Mail

Chen Lifeng’s dress-making company survived the global financial crisis yet may fall victim to today’s milder economic slowdown, one that China deems necessary to secure its future growth.

His company, Ningbo Tengsheng Garments Co., is grappling with slackening overseas sales, rapid wage rises and higher raw material costs that erode already thin profit margins.

“The situation is grimmer than 2008-09. New orders are falling, but wages are rising. Many firms are doing even worse and some have gone bankrupt,” said 31-year-old Chen, whose factory in the eastern province of Zhejiang churns out $4 million to $5 million worth of dresses each year.

“We are doing our best, but frankly I don’t know how long we can maintain our business,” said Chen, pointing to the empty sewing machines on the factory floor – a third of the capacity.

Firms like Chen’s face extinction if they can’t evolve to keep up with…

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