Japanese labour migration to China and IT service outsourcing: the case of Dalian

Kumiko Kawashima

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


In this chapter, I trace the trajectory of Japanese IT service labour migration to the northeast Chinese city of Dalian from its emergence in the mid-2000s up to the present. Drawing on literature research and interview data obtained between 2013 and 2015, I examine the experience of Japanese migrants and the role they play in the expansion of Dalian's service outsourcing sector. Multinational firms increasingly use offshore outsourcing to reduce labour costs associated with low-end IT service jobs, such as assisting individual users of computer products and testing mobile phone apps. Young Japanese are hired in Dalian as skilled migrants, and work alongside bilingual Chinese workers to serve customers based in Japan. Their starting salaries are comparable to Japanese minimum wages, and their socio-economic gains are not straightforward. Through the research findings, this chapter highlights the interlinkages between China's ambition to build a post-industrial economy, and changing youth labour in Japan.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDestination China
Subtitle of host publicationimmigration to China in the Post-Reform Era
EditorsAngela Lehmann, Pauline Leonard
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781137544339
ISBN (Print)9781137557100
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • service outsourcing
  • labour migration
  • call centre
  • China
  • Japan
  • Asia


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