Retail in Asia

In People

China’s wage hikes ripple across Asia

More Asian governments are pressing businesses to hike wages as a way to prevent outbreaks of labor unrest, raising the specter of higher manufacturing costs for global companiesand the products they sell worldwide.

In the latest move, Malaysia’s cabinet has approved the country’s first-ever minimum wage to be imposed soon, according to people familiar with the matter. The decision follows similar moves elsewhere in the region, as officials from Thailand to Indonesia follow efforts by China over the past two years to boost pay after years of widening gaps between rich and poor.

Global companies already have been facing higher labor prices in China over the past year, despite a weak global economy, as workers demand a greater share of the country’s economic boom. In recent months, the pressure also has intensified in countries across Southeast Asia that have marketed themselves as alternatives for companies seeking to escape China’s rising costs, leaving those companies now with fewer places to move.