Five interesting things you may not have known about China:
‘Made in China’ products are far from plastic junk
Most Chinese manufacturers are among the highest quality and efficient producers in the world. If you tell them to produce a good in a certain way they’ll take your instructions and produce your products with great attention to detail. Poor products manufactured in China are most likely a result of a poor design which is mutually exclusive of the Chinese manufacturers themselves.
Chinese workers are treated much fairer than common beliefs
Despite common beliefs that Chinese manufacturing workers are treated poorly and paid unfairly, this is in fact largely false. Most employees here are thoroughly trained, given fair working hours, realistic targets to meet and are paid fairly. Many statistics of unfair wages do not factor into account Purchasing Power Parity (income adjusted for inflation), forgetting that the cost of living in China is drastically lower compared to the West. Most Chinese factories greatly value their employee’s happiness. Do not forget that even factories in Europe and the US try to cut corners and costs which may put employee happiness and safety at risk.
China has lifted more people out of poverty than any other country
Since China’s economic reform in 1978 it has averaged 10% GDP growth per year until 2014. GDP per capita grew from $155 to $7,590 per capita in 2014 – lifting 800 million people out of poverty. However, there is still a long way to go for China and much more room for continual investment.
Communicating in China can be extremely difficult
A major issue when trying to communicate with Chinese manufacturers is that even when they speak English or ‘Chinglish’ it can be difficult to get your message across. Chinglish is where native Chinese speakers learn English but it is still heavily influenced by Mandarin. This is because the languages are so opposite to each other that it can be difficult for a native Mandarin speaker to fully grasp the English language. If you have ever tried to directly translate a Mandarin sentence to English you will understand the complications of ‘Chinglish’. Chinese managers and workers are likely to often not understand your requests but tend to take your instructions very literally. Therefore you must be very careful when giving instructions or it could cost you thousands!
China is the world’s largest exporter
Did you know that 17% and 15.9% of China’s exports go to the US and EU respectively? According to The Economist China produces 70% of the world’s umbrellas, 60% of global buttons, 85% of all artificial Christmas lights in the US and 9% of Chinese goods sent to the US end up on the shelves of Walmart. An astounding 94% of merchandise exports are manufactured goods according to the NY Times.