What is the general public’s perception of items created in China?

As a group we decided to focus on products people buy, more specifically the items that people bought last and their views on the products made both here in the UK and those made in China. We chose to create a series of little red paper t-shirts, on these we prompted people to write the answers to some questions we had on them. We decided on a set of four questions, though these questions could be changed or even expanded on depending on what the person wrote:

What was the last thing you bought?

  • Do you know where your products are from?
  • Do you care and does it bother you where your products come from?
  • What are your views on the quality of products made her in the UK to products made elsewhere (China, Taiwan etc)

For the most part many of the answers for the most part were the same. A lot of people do not know where the products they buy come from and when asked many will reply with either “I don’t know” or the country stereotypically known for producing that product, many believing that only the lower quality items come from China. But is this ethical? Whilst many of the items are made in China some are not in fact able to be legally sold in China. The products can only be distributed by the company that outsourced the manufacturing to China. Among the biggest challenges faced by Chinese brands when approaching the foreign markets is the connotations associated with the words “Made in China”.

Although ,when asked, people do not seem to mind where their products come from so long as the products are of a decent to good quality. There are those who generally try to make sure that the ones employed to create the items are treated fairly before they make the purchase, though the majority are more likely to overlook the items origins altogether. It was only recently that the labour laws in China were changed. This was done in an effort to address the rising number of labour disputes. It was decreed that all contracts had to be put into writing within one month of the employee starting. Contracts are not seen as binding in China. It also covers areas such as severance pay, lay-offs, probationary periods and mandatory holidays, Chinese new year, International Labour Day and National Day each of which spanning a week at a time. The standard working time in China is 40 hours whilst the standard working week is Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm with the weekend off. However overtime is the norm and many companies don’t actually compensate their workers for it.

It would appear that the view of many concerning the comparisons between something made in the UK and something made elsewhere like China, many will state that the products made in the UK are of a higher quality. Whilst this is has an ounce of truth, it would be truer to say that whist the products may be inferior in quality, these same products are created for a market that expects the products for cheap prices. There are also a number of high quality products that are made in China as well, these selling for a much higher price. Other than this, it would seem that the awareness of many fake products and counterfeits also casts a more negative view of Chinese products.

Looking around online, it would seem it is very easy to have items manufactured over in China. Just searching “Manufacturing in China” brings you to a site for a company that helps set up the whole transaction. On the whole, the industry has developed incredibly quickly. The scale of the increase has been ranked in the top places providing obvious comparative advantages internationally. The manufacturing industry serves as the most dominant sector of China’s economic growth. As such it is the main source of employment in the cities and towns of China. The upgrade of the manufacturing industry in China has became the main symbol of improvement of natural power in China over the last 20 years. This has enabled China to primarily establish its status as a “big country of manufacturing” and has also laid the foundations for China becoming a “strong country of manufacturing”.

 

Advertisements

Attitudes Towards China

When it comes to buying the latest technology or fashion trend, are people aware of where these goods are coming from?

I aim to find out what peoples attitudes are towards China today; are they aware of where the goods they are buying were actually manufactured, and how do they perceive the quality of ‘Made in China’ goods compared to ‘Western’ goods?

I set out with a short questionnaire that covered the basics of these topics.   I interviewed a cross-section of people to see what their perceptions were.  Here are a consolidated series of opinions that were shared.

Firstly, I asked ‘when buying new technologies or clothes do you think about where the product is coming from or are you more focused on the brand, price and how it looks?

The majority of people said they never think about where their products are coming from.  However, one gentleman did say it would depend on what he was buying.  For example, if he were to buy a car or tools for DIY then he would generally go for German made as they have an excellent reputation, but for anything else he said he never puts much thought into it.  I also went onto ask one lady about her opinions on buying clothes, she said that it’s incredibly rare now-a-days to see clothing with the label ‘Made in Britain’ and if more things were made locally then she would buy them, but most of the clothes she purchases are from China or Asia.

I then went onto ask where they thought most of their goods were manufactured and why –

Most said China or Asia, however some had no idea.  When asked why, I was given some very interesting answers; some just linked their answer to the ‘Made in China’ stereotype, but others spoke about the huge work force and cheap labour.  The huge work force allows for mass production of goods and although the workers are paid very little they are willing to work hard to support their families.  Some went onto talk about ‘sweat shops’, they were aware to avoid purchasing goods that were manufactured in these places.  One lady said ‘nobody should be exploited’ and she would be prepared to support this cause.

I then asked, ‘what do you think the general publics perception of ‘Made in China’ goods is?

The general consensus was ‘cheap.’  It was discussed that people today, especially the older generations, are heavily influenced by the past and are stuck with the historical memory of ‘Made in China’ goods being cheap.  One person mentioned his opinion on the fact that many people didn’t, and still don’t, appreciate China’s ability to produce good quality products.  Another went onto to say how people today are very money orientated.  Those with money are willing to pay a fortune for designer labels, but how much did these designer clothes actually cost to make?  An interesting point made by one of my subjects.

Finally, I asked ‘how do you perceive the quality of ‘Made in China’ goods compared to ‘Western’ goods?

Again, some said that ‘Made in China’ goods were cheap and ‘Western” goods are of a better quality.  This, however, wasn’t the case for all.  A few people spoke about how China has flourished with the technology boom and as their society has improved dramatically so has their ability to manufacture high quality products on a massive scale.  I was also surprised to here one person say he thought the quality of China made goods were in fact better than ‘Western’ goods because of the huge number of employees that are willing to work extremely hard to produce high quality products.

It’s clear that many are still heavily influenced by the past and still perceives China made goods as cheap.  Whilst in some areas this may still be true, China has developed dramatically over the years and is now an influential competitor in the world.

Personally, I’ve never really put much thought into where my goods are coming from, not until recently when I watched a documentary called ‘Factory City.’  This programme looked at one of the largest factories in the world, Eupa, situated in the Southeast corner of China.  I found this documentary a real eye opener to the way many of our goods are manufactured.  It was truly fascinating how dedicated the factory’s 17,000 workers were and the amount of pressure they are under every day to produce staggering amounts of goods which are then exported all over the world.  Not only do they work in this factory, they dedicate their entire lives to this factory; they live within the surrounding area, they eat there, they get married there, they raise their families there and send their children to school there.

So why do ‘Made in China’ goods have this stereotype of being cheap when most of the latest technology and clothes we buy are in fact made in China.  I, for one will now be more aware of where my goods are manufactured and will appreciate all the hard work that is put into making them.

Is Apple Launching the iPhone5 in March? No. it’s iPhone7!

Yes, everyone’s attentions draw on the same side again. Recently, there have been rumours saying that Apple is going to release its new product. Everyone tends to try on guessing when Apple is going to launch its new iPhone.

 

But actually the new product is presented in the Chinese market already! The price is incredibly cheap with the totally new style. Wait for a minute… This is actually a “HiPhone5” which belongs to the clone product that is made in China.

This is a new product from a local Chinese mobile provider which promised its customers to “Go beyond the iPhone5!” The price is very cheap with only 200 Yuan or approximately 18 GBP. The function is very similar to the previous iPhone by Apple with a large touch screen. Its weight is very light and makes it feel like a toy instead.

This new products in China is always innovative things to shock the world.  iPhone5? There’s more! “iPhone 6” & “iPhone7” available!

This so-called “iPhone 6” claims to cover all functions in the real iPhone, with the only different that its logo writes “iPnoho 6”.

Another network provider also invented the “iPncne7”, at which that the classic logo of Apple is not being bited.

It will not be surprised for any Chinese people to see these kinds of fake products, as the culture of Chinese production has obviously involved these products into different areas, such as clothing, catering, advertising etc.

However, what is the level of awareness among typical Dundee shoppers about these kinds of products? Let’s try to ask around to see some feedbacks. After interviewing different people about their points of view on these “new” products, the conclusion comes with two major opinions.

Along the interviewees, some have heard that China is famous for fake products while the others said that they don’t really know about these matters. However, all interviewees expressed that they have never thought that a “special version” of fake iPhone are existing in the market.

Regarding the feeling towards these phones, some interviewees think that it’s very incredible to have such an idea innovative items, while most of the others think it is not proper to make counterfeit products.

But when it comes to the questions that will they try to get one for themselves, almost everyone being interviewed refused to try using these phones, mainly worrying about the trustworthiness of these fake products. The safety issues of using these phones are most concerned. The actual workings of functions are also worried. However, some young interviewees said they may try to get one to carry around due to the fact that they think it’s funny, but they won’t use it for long-term usage.

Almost everyone hold similar feeling towards these products, and it is worth discussing about the responses of all interviewees. How do they actually perceive the quality of electronic products?

Price, texture and style are basically the most important things of clothing or accessories to draw consumers’ attentions. While many of us don’t actually care about the producing place of clothing or accessories, place of birth of electronic products seems to catch more attentions among typical shoppers.

The reason under this phenomenon is mainly due to the common stereotype of Chinese products. The reputation of products from China is usually not aligning with safety or durability, which makes potential buyers unwilling to get products. News reporting quality problems, such as the 2007 recall of toys containing lead paint, occur with alarming frequency.

With the low labour costs and rapid turnover in filling orders, the manufacturing companies in China have gained an important place around the world. Companies all over different areas tried to get orders with this cost-efficient expert. Nevertheless, nothing is going to be perfect and the quality is normally sacrificed among these production advantages. But breaking up is hard to do. Companies that build long-term relationships with Chinese manufacturers still find that their partnerships worth to be continued.

With the increasing orders around the world, Chinese manufacturing industry is stepping closer to the center of world trading, however, China is known as a country producing counterfeit products. This long-build image of their defected products and copyright infringement may also pull this dragon back from the grateful path. Its future depends a lot on how it is going to tackles with their reputation. And this should be the most crucial thing that the country may want to reform.