Made in China

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MACDRIVE, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. MACDRIVE macrumors 68000


    Feb 17, 2006
    Clovis, California
    New York Times

    USA Today

    I'm interested in knowing your thoughts on Chinese business practices as a whole; not just the latest recall of Mattel's toys Made in China. My knowledge of global economics is very limited, but I know it has something to do with the Chinese yuan being at a fixed devalued rate to the American dollar that has something to do with it. Then there's the cheap Chinese labour that's available to U.S. companies for outsourcing the production of their products that has something to do with it too.

    I'm trying to learn more about this issue by educating myself with what information that I can find on the web, but the information I have found is either limited in scope, or the terminology is way beyond my comprehension. Obviously, there's the possibility that the very Mac that you're reading this thread on right now may be Made in China; which could very well bias your opinion in favour of China.

    Myself, I don't want any kids to get hurt, but the thought of a certain amount of paranoia entering into some parents heads about toys Made in China, is just music to my ears. :D
  2. solvs macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    You get what you pay for.

    This was bound to happen eventually, the warning signs have been there for awhile now.

    And the guy in charge over there took his life because of it. Can't imagine many here in the US doing that. Not that I would suggest they should, but some accountability would be nice. For once.
  3. Joshua8o8 macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2007
    Honolulu, Hawai'i
  4. MACDRIVE thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 17, 2006
    Clovis, California
    People in the U.S. don't seem to care about where the product is made that they buy; that's what's so disturbing to me. All they care about is getting the best deal. People need to stop and think about what kind of damage they're doing by buying a product made in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, India or Mexico.
  5. njmac macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    I hate those cheap dollar store toys that my kids get at the doctor's office and in goody bags. They don't need them, they never work right and its a shame the plastic and labor used to make something likely to never be played with and discarded.

    My kids do have and love the "Sarge" Cars toy and the Thomas Wooden Railway Trains that are being recalled. The trains especially are disappointing because they are expensive and decent quality. At this point, I don't trust anything coming from China.

    And seriously, I drink white tea imported from China and I'm starting to worry if any of that is counterfeit :confused:

    For kids toys it's difficult but not impossible to find American or European made toys. Some of my favorites are:

    Lego (Denmark, Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Korea)
    K'nex (US)
    Kapla Blocks (France) or Keva Planks (US)
    most Haba toys (germany)
  6. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    Having shopped Asian stores for a very long time, I've been wary of Chinese products because they've mostly been food products. Most of the problems with food have been coming from South America, until recently and I've seen some warnings in Singapore about products from China.

    However with certain electronics products coming from China now, I'm more concerned because the prices look good but, as with the Apple scandals, many factories are operating in a fashion that doesn't seem to appreciate people, safety, or true quality.

    The local news was going on about lead-based paints and yet, these arrive on dishes from Italy quite often still.

    I would think that companies as big as Fisher-Price and Mattel would have a plan for random inspections of products, especially considering the danger to children but apparently, they've become lax.

    I have no problem trusting products from practically anywhere else, except maybe the generic "America" I see on some products just because those products are likely made with sweatshop labour.
  7. leekohler macrumors G5


    Dec 22, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
  8. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    Yeah, I don't think my son's getting any toys made in China anytime soon.

    But of course this is all about the bottom line. Lead-free paint is more expensive, and the philosophy championed by folks like Wal-Mart (not to mention California's public low-bid laws - but that's another topic for another day) says that cheaper is always better.
  9. xsedrinam macrumors 601


    Oct 21, 2004
    I'm waiting on a black MacBook in transit FedEx from Shanghai. I hope I get what I payed for.
  10. jczubach macrumors 6502


    May 15, 2007
    Does anyone else find it ironic that the very toys sitting in front of us that we're using to view this thread is probably made in china?:rolleyes:
  11. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    Yeah, but how likely are you to ingest any portion of your computer?
  12. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO

    .....wait, so I'm not supposed to eat this kind of apple? That would explain why it tasted so bad.
  13. katie ta achoo macrumors G3

    May 2, 2005
    *starts gnawing on LCD*

    Ok, but seriously:
    I really wonder what this'll do to xmas toy sales. I've seen a drop in toy sales of items made in China. I've had customers specifically ask me to help them find something that hasn't been manufactured in China. It's easy for birth-3 years (Chicco = Italian, WOW toys = UK) but older kids, it's all china. Webkinz, LEGO, Groovy Girls, etc.

    A few customers have asked me specifically for items made in the USA. Yes, they're more expensive. You want something made in this country? Be prepared to pay for the costs that go into it: wages (US ~$6/hr), health insurance for workers, acquisition of raw materials, etc. Yeah, the same basic thing is going to be like 50% more. The American public wants things cheap, and they want them now.

    I'm not worried about the toy store I work at 'going under' because of lower Xmas sales-- we have a loyal customer base and you can't beat our free gift wrapping-- but a few of the "go-to" products for 4-8 year old girls are gone. I am worried about having customers with a point to prove coming in:
    "I won't buy from China! Help me find a gift. My son loves Webkinz!"
    --Webkinz are made in china. Good luck explaining to your kid why you didn't get him the Clydesdale/spotted frog/terrier/whatever animal is new for his birthday, even though he's been whining about it for months. I'll have a box of tissues for him when he starts crying.
    "I won't buy from China because I want to show them how much they're hurting the Public!"
    --Uhm... Good luck trying to find something 100% american made. The wood could be from Argentina, the paint from Canada, the metal screws from Korea. Also, not buying a product on the shelf specifically hurts the neighborhood toy store you love so much. The items on the shelf are ordered months before you even see them or know they exist. Xmas orders were placed in MAY. They were paid for in May. Mattel/HAI/SEHH already have their money. You're just hurting the bottom line when we have to put things on sale because you refuse to buy them. A sale of 50% off is just breaking even. They have to pay their smiling employees :), and they can't do that if they're just breaking even.

    OK, I'm rambling. Time to go eat some scones. :p
    (They're made in the USA... in my kitchen. Mmm.)
  14. njmac macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    I would prefer to pay more for European or US made toys and let my kids have less toys. How many toys do kids need, sheesh :rolleyes:

    Katie, I believe Lego are made in Denmark and the Czech Republic...

    I guess it gets harder when the kids are bigger and they want things like webkins. The 5 and under crowd are easy :) EDIT: like Katie said.
  15. Ugg macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2003
    Well, your scones might be made in the USA but the soy based additives might well come from Argentina too!

    No kids, so I don't have to worry about toys but for awhile now I've been more wary of what I buy. It's impossible not to buy stuff from China.

    Whenever I look at a box of crackers and see "Made in the USA" I always wonder which ingredients are made from foreign products. There's simply no way of telling.

    I don't knowingly buy any food that's made in China.

    China's highly unregulated. When looking at the numbers of food factories, it's simply unfathomable. Coupled with a weak regulatory system, a tradition of bribery and the lack of a free press it's just a matter of time before there's a mass poisoning.

    If it happens within the next year, the Olympics will turn into China's biggest nightmare.
  16. skunk macrumors G4


    Jun 29, 2002
    Republic of Ukistan
    Reminds me of the old joke:

    Elmer: It says here in this paper every third child born in the world is Chinese.
    Mildred: Well, thank God we only had two!

  17. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    Sounds like a conservative wet-dream.
  18. Peterkro macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2004
    Communard de Londres
    Quite, the rabid free marketers,should be overjoyed.
  19. njmac macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    The major food that China ships to the US is garlic. If you buy a product that lists garlic as an ingredient, it most likely came from China.

    How does anyone here feel about buying tea from china? My favorite tea (Organic Shou Mei White Special Grade) is from China. My other options for tea are India and Sri Lanka. Both are more expensive than China and in this case the China tea is an outstanding product unlike most things from China.
  20. e²Studios macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2005
    Here is a book where someone lived a year without any products made in China, along with all the difficulties that came with living without Chinese made products.

  21. FrankBlack macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2005
    Looking for Lucy Butler
    Nah, here such an executive would twirl out the door with a multi-million dollar severance package, and the employees would all get laid off.
  22. AlBDamned macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005
    There's a good book that I have at home called China Inc.. I found it a good start on the topic and it's not too overwhelming and pretty easy to read, yet it opens your eyes to the immensity of the country and it's economic power and possible future.

    There's a lot of info out there so it's easy to get swamped, but that book is definitely recommended and the link above is to Amazon where it's $10.

    I personally think that although the hype curve is still well on its way up, there's so much nasty stuff bubbling away in that country that some aspect of it will pop at some stage.

    Beyond that we should all be learning a lot more about the place.
  23. steamboat26 macrumors 65816


    May 25, 2006
    Arlington VA
    There are some toys not manufactured in china, but when big corporations see how low wages are in china, and how much money they can save by producing there, what do you think they would do? It's all about money...
  24. MACDRIVE thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 17, 2006
    Clovis, California
    Yes it is and you're very right, but if the end user (which is all of us) were to decide that we want to buy products made in USA or Europe, sooner or a later they'd have to listen. ;)

    Myself, I have a hobby of collecting high-end tools; whether it be hand tools or power tools. So far from what I've seen, the Chinese don't know how to make a high-end tool; all they know how to do is make something that remotely resembles a high-end tool.

    I like tools made in the USA, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, France and Germany. There are some really nice wood chisels made in England that are on my future acquisition list as well. :p

    I took a welding class at city college a few years back. Some of us would bring our own mini grinders to class in our backpacks or store them in the school locker. There was this one guy that would go to a place called Harbour Freight and buy a Chinese made grinder for $20. It would last for only 20 minutes! There was something wrong with the copper windings on the armatures that would keep burning up. The guy would go back to the store and get a free replacement, but after about the 4th one, he finally gave up and bought himself a DeWalt. :D
  25. Desertrat macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2003
    Terlingua, Texas
    Interesting that folks talk against foreign purchase and get excited about the current account deficit--yet what if other countries didn't want to buy US products? We export something like $1.7 trillion's worth a year.

    Sure, "you get what you pay for", but some of my tools are from Harbor Freight, some are Snap-On. Depends on usage and "bang for the buck" in meeting my needs. I have Sears Industrial saws and drill motors that have been used for decades; some el cheapo occasional-use stuff that's adequate.

    I'm in favor of lead-free paint, but I and many friends survived childhood in an era when there was no such thing. Since lead-free paint is a small incremental additive to a toy's cost, it's enhanced safety at a reasonable cost--as opposed to the modern penchant for "safety at any cost". IMO, the problem is overblown, in that I didn't eat my toys; my kid didn't eat his...

    The food-problem thing seems to me to be the more important. I note that the Chinese seem to have a lesson-giving way of dealing with corruption in their equivalent of our FDA, however.


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