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Chinese toy factories feel economic pain

Unemployed worker Wang Wenming was angry at his boss for shutting down a massive Chinese factory this week that made toys for Mattel Inc., Hasbro Inc. and other American companies.

But the assembly line worker was also furious at the United States.

“This financial crisis in America is going to kill us,” the 42-year-old laborer said Friday.

The company, which has struggled as global growth has slowed in recent months, once employed 7,000 people in mainland China and Hong Kong. It wasn't immediately clear how many have lost jobs.

Economic upheaval in the U.S. is already changing and shrinking China's vast manufacturing hub in the southern province of Guangdong, long regarded as the world's factory floor. The closures won't just be a China problem; shoppers will feel the effect in malls and stores in the U.S. and Europe.

“When these companies go bust, the outcome is higher prices,” said Andy Xie, an independent economist in Shanghai.

For years, too many Chinese factories competing for foreign buyers meant winning bidders settled for often unrealistically low prices they demanded. American and European consumers enjoyed rock-bottom prices.

But many Chinese factories were scrimping on materials and stiffing suppliers to survive, Xie said. The financial crisis will push many wobbly factories to ruin and end an unsustainable situation, he added.

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