To discover how aware people are of where goods they purchase are manufactured, I asked, where people thought their mobile phone was made. I chose mobile phones because in 2007 50% of mobile phones were made in China. The most common answer was “I don’t know” followed by “maybe China? Everything’s made in china…” it became apparent that a lot of consumers are not concerned about were their products originate from. It would appear that this was the case with me when it came to my mobile phone so I set about finding out were it was made.
Hidden in small type behind the battery were the words made in Taiwan and on the back of the battery it read, “made in China”. So I could find this out easily by taking my phone apart. But what if I wanted to look the phone up online before committing to buying it. On the companies official website I could find the phones specifications were clear to see. There was information such as screen size, memory, camera etc. But there was no information about the phones origin. In fact, after spending some time searching the website I couldn’t find any information about were the phone was actually manufactured. I found out that on Internet forums the question of where phones are made is quite common. An answer to one of these questions confirmed that my phone indeed was made in Taiwan. A comment saying, “At least it’s not that boring “Made in China” most things have…” then followed this answer. It seems strange to think that there is a feeling of surprise when something isn’t made in China. People have come to accept that their goods are from China and this doesn’t seem to be an issue. Cheaper prices bring greater custom.
But the more aware people are about the origins of their products, the more inclined they are to pay more for items that are made in fair conditions. This has seen some company’s hiding the fact their products are made using foreign cheap labour. So is this the reason I found it hard to discover the origin of my phone on the company’s website. Products can be made in china at a fraction of the price it would cost to make them in the west. But company’s are embarrassed about using foreign low paid workers and they are worried that they might loose custom if consumers knew the truth about were their goods are manufactured.
It seems that people generally think of China for mass, cheap manufacturing. But is this a positive view or dose it give China a bad image? A global poll showed that In 2004 European country’s felt that China’s influence on the rest of the world was general a positive thing. But since then the majority of people in Europe now see China’s influence as a negative thing. Interestingly China’s opinion of Europe’s influence is mainly positive. This shift of European opinion may have come about due to media uncovering some company’s use of China’s cheap work force. The United States of America also have a predominately negative view on Chinas influences. This could be due to recent stories of tightening of state control in China. This has damaged China’s image in the world. However overall there are more countries in the rest of the world that see China’s influence as being a positive thing than there are that see their influence as being negative.
China is developing and they are hoping that this growth will help change the opinion of European country’s and the United States. I think this opinion will change with China’s efforts to reduce poverty and become a “green” country.
Opinions on products produced in China will change with the country’s push to get out of low-end manufacturing and focus on developing high-end industries.