Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Posts Tagged ‘Chinese quality’

Prices of Goods in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on January 8, 2010

Life is cheap, as in abundantly cheap in China. I will now tell you just how cheap it is, and remember, these prices are from Beijing, the second most costly city in the mainland..

The exchange rate at present is about 6.88 RMB to the dollar

Meal for 12, 8 meat dishes 6 vegetable dishes- local cuisine, 344 rmb or ~ 48U$ at nanlishulu road

bowl of rice 1 to 5 rmb ~ $.14 to $.7

Mercedes station wagon 280 000 RMB ~ $41,000

photo copy 5 jiao (jiao is half of 1  mao, mao is 1/10 of rmb) ~ $.01 (for instance if one were so inclined they could copy a 2100 page book for about 127 rmb) or 20 US…

Seafood for 2 at great restaurant (3 small crab, snails, 2 sides, rice) 350 rmb  ~ 52$

Meal at Mexican joint – chimichangas, fajitas, nacho entree, 2 cokes 180 rmb ~ $28

cheap shirt 20 rmb ~ 3 $

cheap jacket 60 rmb ~ $8.80

cheap knock of f cell 200 rmb  ~ 28$

snickers candy bar 4 rmb ~ $ .6

Red bull 6 rmb ~ $ .89

cigs 6 to 8 rmb ~ $.8  – 1.1

massage foot, 60 minutes 60 rmb ~ $8.3

Massage foot and body 2 hours total 188 rmb (expensive place) ~ 28.6 $

hair cut 4 rmb to 1600 (innludes extensions) ~ $ .6 to 250

Apple 5 rmb ~ $ .7

Starbucks biggest cup, forget the damned name  36 rmb ~ $5.25

McDonalds lunch special 15 to 21 Rmb ~ $2.2 to 3.1

Subway spicey Italian  18 rmb ~ $2.80

living in China

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Stocking Stuffer Nation- Chinese Product Quality

Posted by w_thames_the_d on January 8, 2010

Because of being pc and all I will start off by saying that I love China, and then profess the usual disclaimers so as to avoid lawsuits or heaven forbid that I be called a racist. Whew, that said, This country has some shitty indigenous products in terms of quality.
Thats right, I said it, whatchagonnado about it??? I mean seriously, it is like living the day after Christmas, well without the large families- here they have a one child rule, and without Santa- here they don’t believe, and without Jesus- ditto, but other than that, well ok, not really like Christmas, but let me make my point.
Remember stocking stuffers? Those really cool little gadgets that were cheap as shit and had a life span equal to that of a may fly (these bastards can have a life span of 30 min to a day read here), so you get my point.

Anyway, when I first came here, I noticed that the products had that cheap Wal-mart, or worse yet, Kmart blue light special feel, the kind of thing you just hope will not fail before you make it to the door. Well those childhood memories have been reignited. The old saying of caveat emptor is alive and well in China. For instance, I was shaving the other day, opted for the cheap local brand, 7 rmb versus 110 for a good Schick (that is 1 U$ versus about 14$). Anyway, I have found that this economy model shaver actually is not that economical. For instance, out of the pack, nearly 50% of the blades are useless, can’t even cut my arm hair, then about 40% will last a day, and one blade will be good for about a week or so.

I say this as I look at my face and receive what we call a “life lesson”. This morning, as I hacked away with the economy blade, i have left my face in such a state of disrepair that I look frightful. The blade did such a number on my face that the coagulating blood makes it look like I lapped spaghetti O’s from a cup. Yeah, I might as well claw at my face with cinder blocks, as use this evil things.

So what will it be tomorrow? Dont know, still think U$14 is a lot of cash to sink on razors.

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Well its a …A Tea Making Device or is it…

Posted by w_thames_the_d on January 5, 2010

Funny photo. We often hear of marketing blunders, people not getting it right. Wouldnt ya think that in 2010 they would be able to get it right? But I guess it is better than being called a burning your tongue til it blisters thing…

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Pimping China-Proudly Made in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 8, 2009

Just saw this about the fact that China is trying to increase its esteem in the eyes of buyers by running a “made in China” campaign. The site reporting it is xinhuanet one of the mouthpieces for the  Chinese government. I say this not with a sense of judgement nor anger, just a fact. I found two things in the article interesting (article here):

1- “The TV commercial was designed to tell overseas consumers that Chinese companies work with overseas firms to produce quality products

2-The Ministry of Commerce (MOC) has said it was supportive of the ad campaign.

As for number 1, I think the world is well aware of China’s pre-eminence in the manufacturing realm. In addition, obviously companies such as Apple and others do work with locals on products that do achieve high levels of quality. The funny thing is that we all know this, but we know that the true value-add is from the home country and not the PRC (especially in terms of quality control). As a businessman here, it is obvious to all that one can obtain quality, many Chinese companies have excellent quality.  In addition, all of the value add that typically goes into our products comes from places other than the PRC (due to many factors). Thus, this article confuses two issues, the fact that quality goods can be made in China, and quality goods can be made in China, by a Chinese company.

The general confusion here is that people dont  trust Chinese manufacturing, and to a certain extent, that notion is well deserved. We have seen to many scandals to not feel jaded. The problem is that absent strong governmental oversight and transparency, it seems as if buying goods from local suppliers and local manufacturers by a local company is quality Russian roulette. Most people are willing to give the benefit of the doubt to foreign firms, as they feel that there is some level of inspection and oversight that goes into the manufacturing of a good that one does not get here. Thus, a better story may be something like, China- Government Declares a war on Home Grown quality issues.  (Offing the people from the milk scandal does not really address the fundamental problems that they face). Chinese businessmen, as other countries are going to maximize profit even if it means cutting corners. The problem is that here, the government has not done their part in protecting consumers at the expense of the companies. The west has been dealing with these issues for over a century, but to China, they are still new. The governement has to take a proactive role.

The second issue, that of the Ministry of Commerce approving of the ad. That takes a measure of thought that a single-celled amoeba could produce. Basically that Ministry is a government entity, and remember ALL news agencies in China are owned by the government, and ALL media agencies must obtain permission before ANYTHING goes out over the air. Thus, the message is favorable to commerce and the man would agree, in addition, those decisions were made at a level much higher than his pay grade, and thus approval is basically guaranteed.

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