Monday, August 29, 2011

Is 'Made in China' the world's biggest brand?

Been doing a bit a landscaping lately, so buying odd bits of equipment here and there has become part of every weekend. Last weekend it was a screeding bar with handle fitted. If you don't know what that is, then just ignore the technicality and read on.

What was unique about this piece of equipment was that it was 'Made in Australia'. I mean, whoa! is that a point of difference or what? It was pretty basic. No moving parts, but it was powder-coated, something we still seem to be quite proficient at here. The rarity of the piece put me in two minds about whether I should use it on the landscaping, or display it in the house as a rare sculpture.

This was the first thing I'd bought in weeks that didn't bear the 'Made in China' tag. It makes me wonder whether 'Made in China' is in fact the world's biggest and best-known brand. Even if you made a product in Australia, you might still label it 'Made in China' to leverage off the awareness!

Even something as basic as a long-handled spade is "Made in China'. I compared several of these, picking the one I thought was the best quality, only to read 'Made in China' on the sticker. So quality is not a reliable indicator of sourcing. 'Made in China' is no longer a poor relation to other superior monikers. Or is it?

What about those 'Great Wall of China' utes promoted by that irritating: It's not good. It's great! catchline?
Surely much better to buy a German-made car or, dare I suggest it, a home-grown product, than one of those. But, oh dear, look under the bonnet of your 'German-made' car and there's a decent chance these days that you may see the ubiquitous 'Made in China' sticker. The Germans have been very good at gaining a foothold in China in many sectors.

The bottom line is that 'Made in China' has become one of the most widely distributed labels in the world and, driven by a growing domestic consumer base, that's not likely to change any time soon. Whether you're shovelling dirt or hauling it, you're most likely going to be using 'Made in China' equipment.

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