Misunderstanding ‘Made in China’

By Li Sichen Source:Global Times Published: 2016/12/19 14:58:39

Illustration: Xia Qing/GT

Illustration: Xia Qing/GT





It's holiday season and time for shopping. There are a bunch of items on your shopping lists ranging from small gifts, toys and festive decorations to Christmas and New Year cards. You go to a supermarket and choose from a variety of products that are not surprisingly labeled "Made in China."

What's your first reaction to Made in China? If you still tend to relate Made in China to poor quality, you need update your ideas. China's capability to produce high-quality products has been recognized by a growing number of foreigners. It's a misunderstanding to associate low quality with Made in China.

I recently found that the question, "Why doesn't China have the ability to manufacture high-quality products?" on Quora has sparked discussions. Almost all of the answers, submitted by both Chinese and foreigners, disagree with the assumption.

For example, Web user Cameron Purdy answers the question saying that just because China manufactures poor-quality products does not mean it cannot manufacture high-quality products.

Purdy explains that the poor-quality products one purchases in the US for example, are made in the quality that the American companies ask for. "In other words, the buyers are explicitly asking their contract manufactures in China to cut corners that they know will make the products lower quality so that the profit margins are higher."

"The price that you pay for the product has no relationship to the cost of its manufacturing," suggested Purdy. For example, for an item priced at $20 in the US, the cost of manufacturing it paid by the American company is usually less than $1. To guarantee the room for profit, the Chinese contract manufacturer spends less than $1 to produce the item.

You hope to get a product with a $20 value that is made for less than $1. What's more, American consumers' behavior to choose cheaper products further drives the product to be made in lower quality. For example, last year you bought a $19 product instead of the $20 one, the American company sensed that the $19 product was more popular and decided to make more $19 items this year. Then the American company pays less money to the Chinese manufactures to make this year's items.

The result of making low-quality products is also the result of a company's behavior. "The sales have to go up and/or the costs have to go down. Something has to give," said Purdy.

Web user Amanda Wu, who lives in Shanghai, noted that many top brands have manufacturing factories located in China, and the most convincing example of China's manufacturing quality is Apple products.

On the back of the iPhone, one can find the product is Made in China - "Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China." 

Chinese and foreign Web users commented that some Chinese products with good reputations around the world are Haier, Lenovo, GREE, Huawei and China Railway High-speed.

Being a native Chinese, Quora is an interesting platform as I always notice odd and old-fashioned questions and misunderstandings about China posed by foreigners. On the other hand, foreign misunderstandings can sometimes affect Chinese people's minds. For instance, when Chinese people travel abroad, some would still avoid buying products Made in China.

It's time for the world to stop relating Made in China with low-quality products.

Just remember, you get what you pay for.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.



Posted in: TWOCENTS-OPINION,METRO BEIJING

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