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Chinese manufactured products

(8 Posts)
user1487920507 Fri 24-Feb-17 09:04:48

Hi everyone,

After living in China for over 7 years (British expat / our children born in China) and having just returned to the UK last year we have decide to avoid purchasing products that are manufactured in China.

I am finding it very difficult to avoid Chinese made products with products that advertise themselves as British or Amercian brands having basically outsourced manufacturing to Chinese factories.

I just wanted to know how important it is where a product is manufactured. Are we we overreacting? Are Chinese products as basically safe? After being outside the UK for so long it would really help me to know a UK perspective.

Many Thanks

MollyHuaCha Fri 24-Feb-17 09:20:19

What's your reason for wanting to avoid them?

user1487920507 Fri 24-Feb-17 12:12:16

Hello Molley (你好!)

My main concerns are

Ethical practices. Almost no legal protection for Chinese workers. No right of union etc..... Workers not being paid for months on end.

Environmental damage. Due to my work I have seen so many Chinese factories that look great on the websites and brochures but when you visit they are in areas where the environment has been decimated. Guangdong and Jiangsu come to mind.

The safety of the products (my son was born just after the milk powder scandal). This is improving but still standards are still not necessarily enforced by the local government. The Chinese friends that I know do not trust local products and will pay a premium for imported western mother and baby products.

Product quality. The majority of Chinese manufactured products are not made to last. However this is also improving slowly.

Since we have been away from the UK for such a long time I just wanted a UK based perspective on this.

Thanks :-)

chinam Fri 24-Feb-17 12:16:56

Were you buying Chinese made products for the last seven years?

user1487920507 Fri 24-Feb-17 12:45:19

Yes we have done.

MollyHuaCha Fri 24-Feb-17 16:23:38

User, 你好 smilebrew, tricky dilemma mainly because so much is manufactured in China these days. The human rights issue isn't great, corruption rife, factory conditions poor, air quality appalling in cities, not much opportunity for local people to change their lives, air miles used to ship goods across the world unethical. But there is a similar situation in many developing countries. Ok, so some of the problem has been identified, but what is the solution? Even if people boycott Chinese-made goods, they will still be buying things where part of the product has come from there. Also, it could be argued that if you don't buy the things produced in China, their sales will fall but the main people to suffer will be the poor workers?

user1487920507 Sat 25-Feb-17 07:22:12

Thanks for the reply.

You are absolutely right this is an difficult problem but solutions are needed as the situation, especially regarding pollution, is getting worse.

Regarding the workers losing jobs, if the demand is there for more ethical practices factories will have to meet this demand. Supply will always adjust to meet demand, otherwise you are always feeding a system of exploitation.

The problem is that many difficult western companies design products, outsource the manufacturing to China and then try to hide the fact that it is produced in China from their customers. Customer do not realise the impact the product has.

I do not want everyone to boycott Chinese (or other developing economies) goods, it is just I personally have made the decision to buy products that do minimal harm to the world and are the safest. I want all of our children to grow up sustainable world.

If a manufacturer in China is truly ethical and is helping China develop in a positive (ethically, environmentally, socially etc) direction then I would support that. To me the service industry in China should be supported(for example designers in Beijing or artists in Shenzhen seem to be much more ethical).

Possible solutions;

1. Free press to expose manufacturers that cut corners. No news blackouts on sensitive topics regarding manufacturing. Unfortunately this happens all the time.

2. Independent legal system that does not allow for corrupt factory / government officials to collude together. This will never be politically acceptable under the CCP. However a move to a legal system like Singapore might work better than the current system.

3. Strong environment laws that are enforced at local levels. This is not really done at the moment.

4. Better Intellectual property protection so that Chinese companies invest more in research and development. This will help improve quality.

5. More tolerance of free speech so people do not feel frightened to talk about environmental issues or other issue regarding product safety. This encourages manufacturers to be much more ethical.

MollyHuaCha Sat 25-Feb-17 08:21:48

I hope you are not planning to return to China. The comments on this thread are enough to get you picked up for questioning at the airport... and then on to quietly disappear...

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