>>> we have a story for you tonight on the jobs front at a time when a lot of americans have wondered where they have all gone, and a lot of them have gone overseas. tonight's story is about a man who had a change of heart about that. he's bringing jobs back home where they belong. nbc's ian williams reports tonight from the region of southern china some have called the workshop of the world.

>> reporter:  for years bill green has been chasing lower costs by shifting production of lamps and industrial cabinets to china. now he's looking to bring some of that work back to america.

>> you reach a point where the risk is not worth the reward.

>> reporter:  chinese material and labor costs are soaring, shipments are being delayed and green suspects factories are cutting corners on quality.

>> they don't sand that stuff off. that will come back through the paint. see this? this is rust.

>> reporter:  we joined him on a visit to china to confront suppliers.

>> this is unacceptable. we can't have that. you know, they know how to get it out.

>> reporter:  the factory boss complains he can't get enough workers. even with wages rising by 40% a year. the supply of young migrants, the backbone of the factories, is drying up because of more job opportunities at home. so green decides he'll ship the final assembly of cabinets back to his mobile alabama factory. then to another tense meeting.

>> needs to go down.

>> reporter:  this time at a factory making lamps where the boss demands bigger orders and larger down payments.

>> if i issue a purchase order with prices on it i don't expect them to change when it's time to pay for the order.

>> reporter:  green will divide the work now between india and the u.s. until three or four years ago it was hard to imagine american business people going anywhere else but friday for choice and price. but the calculations are now fast-changing.

>> it is more stable in the united states to manufacture. you know what the costs are going to be pretty much. used to be you came over here and everybody was willing to do anything. now it's harder to get them to cooperate with you.

>> reporter:  it's a growing trend across southern china's export belts with analysts reaching a startling conclusion.

>> china as the world factory, i think the best time is behind us.

>> reporter:  as green prepared to return home, he was planning for the first time in years to create new jobs back in america. ian williams, nbc news, china.