Are Chinese Products of Poor Quality?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Are Chinese Products of Poor Quality?

That is the general perception or misconception that Chinese products are inferior in terms of the overall quality and that one must avoid buying them. Well, if that is true then why global leaders use Chinese manufacturering plants to make their brands?

There are jokes circulating on social media networking sites, via e-mail and verbally, all invariably maligning the Chinese products with a blatant emphasis that they are, in general, of poor quality hence unreliable.

This topic does not require lots of details, explanations or clarifications. It is indeed very simple and easy to understand the purpose of such tactics and to grasp the Actual Reality.

Let us begin with the fundamental question;


Quality is simply our requirement, our specifications and our standards. For example; if we need a vehicle to commute to workplace on a daily basis and have a limited budget then what we need is perhaps a Kia, Ford, Corolla or Honda, not Ferrari, Lamborghini or Bugatti. So the vehicle that we purchase after due consideration is the quality that we need. If we buy a Ferrari, Lamborghini or Bugatti for going to work on a daily basis then it is sheer waste of resources and adds no value whatsoever, except for displaying an ostentatious behavior.

There are certain aspects of the supply and demand dynamics that one needs to keep in mind;

  • It is the buyer who determines the price of the goods or services offered by sellers in most cases, and not the other way around. This very fact is not known to buyers and they have no idea about their enormous power to control and influence the market prices.

  • The selling price is the acquisition cost plus margin.

  • The sellers will strive to maximize the selling prices by charging as much premium as possible.

  • To charge higher margins, sellers will create and bolster their brand image by employing catchy advertising and spending huge amounts on support activities.

  • The buyers see the premium charged as justified in certain cases and pay it without much fuss.

  • The reason for paying the premium is that buyers view it as good value for their money as long as the price is within reasonable limits.

  • The premium in certain cases is unrealistically high in view of lack of knowledge on part of the consumers. Like for example detergent, a simple formulation where consumers pay premium on global brands without getting any additional value as such.

  • In some cases, the premium charged is justified, like portraits, Rolex watches, Lamborghini cars or handmade carpets etc.

  • A fair margin is what makes the purchase a win-win deal for both the buyers and sellers.

  • The buyers to get a fair market value and sellers to get a fair margin on goods and services they offer for sale.

  • That is the ideal situation and that is what is now challenged by China, threatening the manufacturers in rest of world especially in the Western hemisphere.

China is in fact a global factory with massive production capacity to fulfill global demand with incredibly superior craftsmanship and unmatched cost base.  All we need is to give them our specifications with cost window and they will deliver the product accordingly. We add more features to our specs and the price goes up and vice versa. Given the specs and cost window, no country can beat China and here is what we get;

  • Optimum quality within given specs and cost band that no other country can offer.

  • Compressed lead times and timely shipments.

  • All we need is either a buying house in China to oversee the quality assurance part or a contractor who can do that for a fee, ensuring what gets dispatched is what was agreed.

  • We should strive to negotiate a sizeable holdback, say around forty percent until the goods are received, inspected and stored or delivered to trade or end users to ensure we got what we had asked for.

  • The other countries may supply quality-assured products but will not be able to match the price offered by Chinese manufacturers, even after loading all the intermediary expenses like shipping costs and tariffs to goods imported from China.

Take a common example. The gift bags were being sold for over 10 dollars apiece in North America before they started pouring in from China. The quality of the Chinese gift bags is far superior and they are priced at less than twenty percent of the bags produced and sold in Western countries. Imagine those bags from China are subject to additional costs like export, shipping and clearing charges plus the import levies and yet they are so competitive and better in terms of quality compared to locally manufactured products.

That is the fundamental reason as to why countries especially those competing with China in order to increase their share in the global exports basket are wary of. The local manufacturers get some incentives from their respective governments and in certain cases they receive preferential treatment at the retail level, yet they are not prepared to reduce their margins or work innovatively to optimize their supply chain costs.

China is an extremely efficient global factory. They make whatever you want within that specs/ cost domain which we allow them. No other country can beat them in that area without massive subsidies or tariff protection.

That is defined as quality; goods meeting the required specs that we need at a desired price.

Claiming that Chinese products are inferior is not only untrue but denotes deliberate efforts to malign the country by discouraging potential buyers. In reality, the Chinese products are excellent in terms of quality provided we give them the right mix of specs and cost, ensure some sort of quality supervision at the manufacturing site and appropriate payment holdback and then the Chinese products are the best value for our money.

That is the main reason why global brands are being produced in China because the brand owners ensure that manufacturers get fair margin while they get good market value. The brand owners still charge huge premium on their products which are made in China and consumers don’t mind paying that, so why do they still think that Chinese products are not reliable?

Quality as has been explained above is simply our requirement. Nothing more, nothing less!  

So next time when you see a joke about the Chinese product's quality; you know the underlying message and intent, and why is it being propagated.

In the end it is consumer who decides what to buy. In a free world, it is the quality vs quality and the price vs price.


Submitted: June 20, 2017

© Copyright 2021 Razi Akber. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Serge Wlodarski

Like all Americans, I own many items made in China. Everything I own is well made. The reason places like Walmart sell so much poorly made Chinese goods is because many Americans don't pay attention to quality, and are only interested in the price.

Fri, March 5th, 2021 12:53pm


Yes, that is true.????

Fri, March 5th, 2021 4:55am

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