Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Posts Tagged ‘China’

Made in China – Dirty Secrets 2

Posted by w_thames_the_d on March 22, 2010


Great post here, I will provide excerpts below. This is from an interview with a guy named Paul Midler, a Wharton grad who authored the book, POORLY MADE IN CHINA. The guy has some good insight, and it mirrors my own experience in China.

“As a fix-it man for overseas importers and retailers sourcing from China, Paul Midler, a Chinese-speaking Wharton MBA grad, gained a unique perspective into the Made-in-China story. That experience, during which he worked with hundreds of Chinese factories, made him an eyewitness to the manipulation of product quality by factories and the other ways in which they bamboozled overseas businessmen and partners. In an interview to DNA Money’s Venkatesan Vembu, Midler, author of Poorly Made in China, reveals the dark secrets of the Made-in-China story. Excerpts:

How much of the Quality Fade is because importers are trying to beat down the ‘China Price’ excessively?

If you’re dealing with someone who is unethical, and if you’re suggesting that that someone is unethical because the price is too low, my view is this: if they’re unethical at a dollar, they’re not going to suddenly become ethical for $1.20. The really unethical player would convince you to pay more and will still deliver bad products.

Let’s say a factory gives you a C-level product for a dollar; you want an A-level product for $2; instead of a C-level, you might get a B-level. But it’s still not the A you expect and are paying for.

Chinese manufacturers are savvy business owners. They operate in a tournament-like business environment: only the fittest survive. The factory owner knows how to prevent counterfeit goods from being passed on to him; in some cases, he may know how to engage in counterfeiting. He or she is very good at negotiating. I’ve a difficult time believing suppliers who say, ‘We didn’t know we bought things that had lead in it. We didn’t notice.’

I’ve seen factory owners, when they’re purchasing stuff, go piece by piece through things – because there’s so much corner-cutting in China…

Every manufacturing economy, from the US in the 19th century to Japan in the 1950s, went through a phase of ‘Quality Fade’. How is China different?

In terms of the quality, there is this tendency to compare China to Japan or Taiwan. I don’t think that’s what we’re seeing. The political environment in China may be contributing to it somewhat – I don’t say heavily; the Chinese government can change its mind at any time about anything. When you operate in an environment where you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, you tend to think fairly short-term. And this has affected the culture of the manufacturing sector in China.

Posted in Let me educate you..., Product Quality | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

China’s New Great Leap Forward- Drought in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on March 20, 2010


China is experiencing a horrible drought in the southern part of the country. Not being a climatologist, I dont know if it is due to global warming. What I do know is that history repeats itself, and about 50 years ago China attempted to do something similar to what they are doing today the great leap forward.

It was an attempt to modernize China- they focused on making steel only. The fields lay fallow and tens of millions died – the result useless pig iron and death.

Today, they are seemingly being a little more conscientious, but are they? Modern China is nothing more than a land grab. The government has not desire to protect human rights, and the people don’t seem to care too much either. It has that halcyon days effect, the government just wants bribes, and to keep their jobs without a revolution, the poor just want TV’s , phones etc. the affluent, want that 2nd home and to get foreign citizenship.

The result is that the land is fast becoming a landfill. From toxic waste in southern China, to toxic computer parts in Guangzhou, the spilling of toxic chemicals into the rivers and pollution that takes almost a million lives a year. China is growing, but what is the cots, the real cost…

What will China look like in ten years…

Posted in Let me educate you..., Ranting in general | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Dont Know Where That is- Mobility in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on March 19, 2010


When I firts came here, I was astounded at how some people could not give you directions, they just didnt know anything about the town, where certain streets were etc. In Shanghai, for instance, you often have to tell the cabbie how to get where you want to go.

In Shanghai, that may be due to the fact that many of the cabbies ae not from Shanghai, but in Beijing, they must be. So you may ask, why do many Beijingers not know where certain places are? It is due to the fact that in China, it is only recently that people had the resources to travel- both abroad and domestically. What this means is that a person from Lang Fang, just outside of Beijing, potentially had never been to Beijing, or a person from a small area of Beijing, had never left his district here.

Now they have more cash and are more aware, much has changed in a few years.

ps. The Beijing cabbies always, or at least 99% of the time, will have heard of where you want to go, unlike those in Shanghai.

Posted in Ranting in general | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Extra Extra Read all About it, China Discovers…Safe Deposit Boxes? WTF??

Posted by w_thames_the_d on March 18, 2010


Here is an article from the China Daily,

It explains that many Chinese dont need to hide their valuables under their beds, like they apparently have been doing over the past thousands of years. This article then goes on to teach us about the benefits of a safe deposit box, like most of our mom’s did when we were 5. Check it:

Lenders offer new stash for cash

(China Daily)

Affluent Chinese have discovered a safer place than under the mattress to keep their valuables – bank vaults. Bank safe-deposit services have grown ever more popular as individuals accumulate wealth and seek safe storage.

Businessman Yang Liming believes banks are a safer place than home to keep valuables like jewelry, gold bullion, bank-deposit books, wealth-management contracts and property-ownership certificates.

“Bank vaults are underground and guarded,” said Yang.

“And banks are a lot tougher to break into than an ordinary home,” he said.

Safe-deposit boxes are usually arranged in underground vaults, where gaining access requires customers to undergo a fingerprint check, verify their identity and provide a password to gain access to their box.

In addition, two keys are required to open each box, with one held by the customer and the other by the bank. “

Posted in Ranting in general | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Corrupt and Unfaithful in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on March 18, 2010


Money and illicit sex must go hand in hand, in the center country. From factsanddetails.com

In 2000, the head of Jiangsu Construction Bureau, Xu Qiyai, was caught up in a corruption scandal and found to have had relations with over 100 women, including a mother and daughter. Lin Longfei, the former Communist Party secretary of Zhiunding County, in Fujian Province kept 22 mistresses at the same time and held a banquet for all of them in May 2002.

In some cases officials have turned to corruption and bribe-taking to support multiple mistresses. In other cases concubines are blamed for leading their lovers astray. Experts on teh matter say that sex is an element of corruption but not a cause. One Chinese sociologist told Newsweek, “Sex is not the reason why officials are corrupt. In their eyes concubines and mistresses are commodities, like a Mercedes-Benz or a villa…Corruption arises out of greed, not lust.”

Posted in Cultural oddities, Let me educate you... | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

No Sense of Accomplishment- Eating in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 23, 2009


China has some delicious food, but why then do I not feel a sense of accomplishment when I have eaten?

The ey is that here they are ultra collectivistic (good explanation here), and the impact is that you feel like you are such a part of the whole that you lose yourself, that you have no ownership nor self-determination.

The scenario, which is a microcosm of living here is that we eat at round tables, share the food. Consider this action, no head of the table, all are equals. Then, we each have matching dishes cups etc. The questions become, what is my food, how much can I eat, and when do I stop.

In the west it has been proven that the size of the portion dictates how much we ea (here).  Thus, we sit down, get ready to consume and are basically guided by the portions in front of us, their size will dictate how much we eat. In essence it is our guide. In addition, my plate is mine, my utensils mine, it occupies a space that I temporarily own. But here, in a round table, there is no sense of ownership. How does one appropriate the correct amount of food, after all what is mine, how much am I entitled to, do I eat till the others stop?

So basically it becomes a confusing state of sit, watch, peck at food then get up and leave with the rest of them, an odd feeling.

Posted in Cultural oddities, Food | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

And Then There is This…

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 14, 2009


Look at my comments below about the odd logo for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Well, they have topped it, look at this creepy logo for the Worlds fair in Shanghai in 2010. YOu know how in Chinese each character is a word, well if this were a word, it would be vomit… something like that.

Posted in Cultural oddities, Let me educate you..., Photos, Ranting in general | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Huge TV Screens by Tian an Man

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 12, 2009


Here are some kick ass TV screens that they installed for the 60th anniversary.

Posted in Photos | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »