Made by China in America

Director – Miao Wang
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Is China’s boom good for our economy?
China is often portrayed as America’s greatest economic competitor and even accused of not playing fair. But is it possible they could be a key ally in U.S. economic development?

Directed by Miao Wang
A Three Waters Production
Producer: Robert M. Chang
Director of Photography: Ian Vollmer
Editor: Robert Greene
Music composed by Stephen Ulrich
Cast (in order of appearance)
Nicholas R. Lardy
Jack Collins
Danny Christopher
Daniel H. Rosen
Ya Sun
John Ling
Ty Taylor
Jason Heindel

Production Sound Mixer: Tyson Dai
Key Grip: George LeFave
Production Assistants: Cody Crooks; Leisa Crossman; George LeFave
Assistant Editor: Dongnan Chen
Motion Graphics Artist: Braden Wheeler
Finishing Facility: Modulus Studios
Online and Color: Josh Foisey
Sound Editing: Eleanor Osborne
Sound Mixing: Damon Addleman
Quality Supervision: Eric Masunaga; Kristen Clifford
Special Thanks
Mark Bachner
Andrew Chen
Mark Choi
Herschel Collins
Reuben Davidson
Larry Davis
Element Electronics
Farm Cafe / Powell General Store
Cassie Gao
Greenfield Industries, Inc.
Thilo Hanemann
Keer America Corp.
Carl Kennedy
Ralph Litzinger
Moss & Associates
Allison Skipper
Sun Fiber, LLC
Qingzi Xu
James B. Wellford
Copyright © Three Waters Productions LLC

Miao Wang

Born and raised in Beijing, Miao Wang is a New York-based filmmaker. She founded Three Waters Productions, focused on creative and cinematic films that inspire cultural understanding and a more humanist perspective of the world. Her filmmaking career started as an apprentice at Maysles Films. Beijing Taxi, Wang’s critically acclaimed first feature, premiered and was nominated for Best Feature Documentary at SXSW. It won numerous awards, screened at over 30 international film festivals and institutions, had a US theatrical release, and broadcast nation-wide on PBS. Her first (half-hour) documentary, Yellow Ox Mountain, screened at over 20 festivals and institutions; received a Best Short Film Award; and broadcast on PBS. Wang is currently in production with her second feature doc MAINE-LAND - about two Chinese adolescents coming of age as they leap across the continents from Chinese metropolis to a boarding school in rural Maine. Their dreams and perceptions distort, evolve, and clash with the life they came from and may return to. Wang is a recipient of grants and fellowship from the Sundance Institute, the Jerome Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, IFP, Tribeca Film Institute, Women Make Movies, and the Flaherty Film Seminar.

Director's Note

“When I was first approached to create a short film on the monster-sized, complex global topic of explaining China’s economic boom, trade, and its impact on the U.S. economy - I had a flashback to the intensity of cramming for exams at the University of Chicago, where I graduated with a BA in economics. I couldn’t say no to this challenge - a project that aptly combines my background in economics and film.

I dug my head deep into news articles, economic publications, and phone calls with economic advisors Neil Irwin and Greg Ip in search of a focus in a sea of topics. I’m used to working on feature-length documentaries where I devote a good amount of time researching, preparing, looking for characters, and establishing relationships.

A ruminating conversation with Nicholas Lardy, an economist who has long specialized in China, helped me narrow down my thoughts. He pointed me to a developing story in the last five years about China investing in manufacturing facilities in the U.S. He also referred me to another economist, Dan Rosen, exploring extensive research in this area. This was a new story to me, even as an avid follower of news related to China. I wanted to tell a nuanced story about China and its economic impact on the U.S. and I wanted to focus in the local communities that it impacts. What ensued has been an incredible fast and furious journey with my intrepid team through my first trip to the South, enlisting the generous and invaluable assistance and connections from economists, academics, and the film community. Pieces of the puzzle miraculously fell into place. We encountered soulful characters and locations and sought to capture the essence of their spirits through our cinematic lens. 

I really hope our short film will show the complexities of globalization and the importance of a two-way relationship between China and the U.S. As one of our interviewees astutely observes, 'If you work together you learn more about each other and that way you know each other's habits and you care about each other more.'"


China’s economy is:

  • 14% Growing more than twice as fast as the U.S. economy
  • 60% All of these
  • 14% Expected to be the world’s largest economy in the next 10-15 years
  • 11% The second largest in the world, after the U.S.
60% of respondents chose the correct answer: All of these.

The U.S. is still the largest economy in the world, generating about $16 trillion in economic activity each year. In fact, it’s almost two times larger than China. That said, China is in second place, and if it continues to grow so quickly while U.S. merely slumps along, it’s expected to catch up with the U.S. in the next 10 to 15 years. In the U.S., we’re lucky if the economy grows 3% a year. In China, 7% growth is considered slow.

Which of the following goods is the U.S.’s largest single export (in dollars) to China:

  • 12% Civilian aircraft
  • 23% Pharmaceuticals
  • 40% Soybeans
  • 25% Cars
40% of respondents chose the correct answer: Soybeans.

China purchased $13.3 billion in soybeans from the U.S. in 2013. In contrast, the country bought only $12.6 billion in civilian aircraft and $8.5 billion in American-made cars. Why are soybeans so popular? China is the world’s largest pork producer, and the country imports soybean meal to use as feed for pigs.

Which of the following goods is the U.S.'s largest import (in dollars) from China:

  • 12% Shoes
  • 6% Televisions
  • 7% Tires
  • 75% Cell phones & other household goods
75% of respondents chose the correct answer: Cell phones & other household goods.

Last year, the U.S. imported $59 billion in cell phones and other household goods from China, followed by computers and computer accessories.

Did you know?

  • For every dollar spent on an item labeled "Made in China," about 55 cents actually goes to services produced in the U.S.

  • As China’s middle class grows, instead of cheap labor, the country might become the leading supplier of college graduates.

  • China is Uncle Sam’s largest foreign creditor, holding about $1 trillion worth of U.S. Treasury securities.

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