"Made in China is one of the most ubiquitous phrases in the modern manufacturing era. To many, the made-in-China tag is a symbol of the decades of manufacturing and economic growth that has propelled China to greater prominence on the world stage."
Matt, you are right in some sense with respect to industry but for customers 'made in China' have a different image. A low quality, low cost items which may be duplicate or ditto items.
In the 1800s, most Europeans considered U.S. manufactured goods to be low-quality knock-offs. And in the 1700s, Europeans were producing low-quality knock-offs of products from China and India. (In fact, the desire for cheap knock-offs of Indian and Chinese goods is what led to the Industrial Revolution in the first place).
Fascinating insights into the state of Chinese manufacturing. But the mind boggling number (even though I doubt it's exactly true) of 1.1 Billion smartphone users (out of a total population including children of 1.3 Billion) is reflective of how far the culture has come. Thanks for the interesting article.
Yes I query that too, maybe it's how many have been sold since they were available? it would seem more likely considering that China has a high peasant population and a lot of the city workers are on a wage that would be lucky to put food on the table let alone have everyone except the baby have a phone.
It doesn't seem like all that long ago, the term "Made in Japan," had a stigma attached to it. Fifty years ago, I doubt many people looked at Japan and foresaw the extraordinary turnaround that would occur with Japanese products.
Hi Charles, that was the turnaround I was thinking of too. Interestingly I think Japanese products have been more consistently designed & manufactured since they have been assembled in China and designed in Japan. I recall as recent as the late 80's that there were big differences between Japanese manufacturers. That gap seems to be be closing now.
Sort of ironic but made in China to Japanese standards actually means something.
I also recall that in the mid to late 70's German electronic products while having great specs were often unreliable. Now that they design in Germany and build in China they are also getting better :-)
Some of it has to do with improvements in design, and some of it has to do with improvements in semiconductor manufacturing technology.
Again I talk here of electronic/electrical products (and from experience in the service industry)
In this age of manufacturing globalization, I think the concept of country of origin has lost most of its quality meaning, and remains only for purposes of taxation. The dress shirt I currently have on says "Made in Viet Nam," but I have no idea of how to relate that to product quality. How do I judge a Japanese or German make of car that was manufactured in the US?
China manufactures everthing from high-quality iPhones to the cheapest children's toys - you don't have the luxury of comparing the quality of your Chinese iPhone with your German one!
When people consciously choose a Chinese-designed product over one from another country, that would be a real turning point.
@mydesign & Charles Murray: Both of you gentlemen make great points about how quality can shift, but I think both have a flaw. Communications. How can we trust numbers coming from a state controlled ministry from a communist country?
In centuries past, communication was slow, but it was unfiltered and uncontrolled, so if items were good or bad eventually word of mouth and free market advertising could and did spread both. With Japan, communications are much faster, but equally unfiltered and uncontrolled (except where manufacturing flaws are hidden by OEM's, but that is a topic for another post).
Today China can choke off any unfavorable numbers they choose. It was not too long ago that dogs were dying from Chinese dogfood and new houses were being torn down so contaniminated drywall could be removed. How can that be so quickly forgotten because some bureaucrat in China claims whatever percentage of people have smart phones? I work in manufacturing and we have been able to recover a good amount of business because our customers were sick of rejects and time lags. (We are still behind the amount we lost, but any gain feels huge.)
I am reminded of years ago when the Soviets would conduct tours through Berlin and keep the visitors on the same route where buildings had been rebuilt, but when a reporter went a few blocks off that route, he found rubble left from WW II. I am a cynic by nature, but when I get data spoon fed by a communist controlled ministry, I am truly a product of Missouri and say, "Show Me". Show me the equivalent of an Underwriter's Lab, OSHA Regulations, Enviromental Protection Agency and on & on adinfinitum and I might swallow some of the claims.
My favorite supplier of fishing gear was ABU Garcia, but since they have had reels made in China as opposed to Sweden, it is junk. Pretty junk, but junk none-the-less. That is not propaganda, just experience gained while trying to repair faulty equipment in the boat, while my fishing partner caught fish and laughed.
Excellent post Matt--very insightful. My experience with Chinese companies; i.e. gas main-top grates, stainless steel door trim, PC boards, fan motors, etc etc. is definitely a mixed bag relative to quality. One company I consult for purchases key pads from a firm located in China. The quality of product, lot to lot, varies considerably to the point that a 100% incoming inspection is always needed. Depending upon the commodity, quantity sometimes seems to be more important than quality. I fell significant improvements are warranted and probably on the way but some manufacturers have a long way to go.
Mr Twwedy has provided us with an interesting and educational advertisement for whatever it is that he sells, which seems like it must be a cloud-based manufacturing data-acquisition system software package. What I have observed from China is that some who have a good deal of insight are able to accurately see what is going on without spending large sums of money on tools that may possibly be of some use to some executives in some US based businesses.
But why must an organization seek cloud based systems when what they are doing is all in one place, and outsiders have no need to know.
It is certainly OK to tout your own product, in fact it is probably mandatory that every CEO believe that their companie's products are the very best solution for whatever problems there may be. BUT don't always expect that I will be as convinced as they should appear to be. Yes, I am aware that this is a cynical attitude, don't worry about it.
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Noting that we now live in an era of “confusion and ill-conceived stuff,” Ammunition design studio founder Robert Brunner, speaking at Gigaom Roadmap, said that by adding connectivity to everything and its mother, we aren't necessarily doing ourselves any favors, with many ‘things’ just fine in their unconnected state.
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