It's Time to Stop Equating ‘Made in China’ with Low-Quality
Chinese manufacturers don’t always guarantee the best product quality. An abundance of cheap labor and a hunger for maximum revenue has traditionally meant China hasn’t been particularly concerned about turning high-end goods. But this might not be true any longer.
Cultural stereotypes tend to outlive the actual accuracy of their claims. Japanese products, for example, used to equate with low quality back in the 1950s. People held on to this opinion long after Japanese goods were competitive with those manufactured in other developed countries.
So what about China? Is it fair to still assume their goods are inferior? Maybe not. As of 2011 statistics published by the European Central Bank, the quality of China-manufactured computers and other IP equipment ranked second only to those produced in the U.S.
A recent trend now has U.S. manufacturers fearing Chinese products not for their lower prices but for their superior quality.
How the Chinese middle class is driving this quality change
The general assumption is that Chinese product quality is improving because of foreign expectations. But the truth might not be so one-dimensional.
China’s economic prosperity is bringing many of its citizens into the middle class. The percent of urban Chinese households considered middle class rose from four percent in 2000 to 68 percent in 2012.
With more discretionary income to spend, the average Chinese person now has the financial means to demand better quality. Seasoned shoppers are willing to pay more for luxury goods. The Chinese consumer is modernizing.
Chinese manufacturers can’t deny that China is the biggest market at their fingertips. So rather than idly sit by while Chinese consumers turn to foreign products, they are making a change. Chinese smartphone brands like Huawei, for example, are right on the heels of competitors like Apple and Samsung.
Chinese consumers are the same as any consumer of means. They want high-quality goods, and don’t care where they’re from. Chinese manufacturers are happy to oblige. They want to capture the market and will respond to consumer demands accordingly. If the market wants high quality, then that’s what they’ll get.
To read the full two-part article on the improvement of Chinese product quality, check out the link below.
Made in China: from scary bad to scary good—Dirk Dusharme, Quality Digest