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Better than Made in Europe? - Part 3 of “Made in China”

16 Sep 2013

Made in ChinaNewspapers are constantly reporting on Chinese manufactured products that fail to meet international quality standards. But what has all this criticism done for the standard of quality of goods “Made in China”? Frédéric Rocher of Laboratoire National de Métrologie et d'Essais is convinced there is improvement:

“Yes, there is an increase in the quality of “Made in China”, it is indisputable. Chinese manufacturers have been carrying out a lot of work to significantly improve their quality process. Why? Everyone is afraid of Chinese-made products, so they are particularly tightly controlled. Today, a product that comes from China is safer than a product made in Europe, largely because Chinese products have to go through customs at the European Union borders. There will always be Chinese manufacturers that use unethical methods in marking their products as certified, but most, who have an obligation to comply with Conformité Européenne (European Conformity), have a gold standard of quality for their goods”.

This is not to say that China has kicked all of its bad habits. Bribery is still a major concern for the Chinese government and foreign buyers. Karim Hayb of Konaxis (Shanghai) states; “All inspectors in China one day or another encounter this problem. When they go to inspect a plant, they are generally very well received by management who offer them, in exchange for a factory pass report, a meal, a massage or money”.

The main headache Chinese suppliers face when dealing with international buyers is the ever evolving and contrasting standards between countries. For example, “what is allowed for the U.S. market is not necessarily for Europe”, Frédéric Rocher explains. Legislation for imported goods coming into Europe is tightening, especially for Chinese-made products. The problem lies in the fact that nobody seems to take the appropriate measures to consolidate these evolving standards.

Summary of “Made in China”

Over the course of our three “Made in China” articles, we have provided an unbiased account of the advantages and disadvantages of manufacturing in China. Below is a summary of the series:

Pros Cons
 Considered the “workshop of the world” – despite its flaws, the world still heavily invests in China.  Poor management in adapting to constantly changing international standards.
 Chinese suppliers are becoming more focused on customer service and seeking to establish long-term relationships.  A big market for false certification reports.
 A lot of unethical and inefficient manufacturers are currently out of business as they are unable to keep up with suppliers developing strategies in quality improvement.  Bribery is still widely practiced.
 Rising mentality and sincerity amongst Chinese manufacturers to produce the best product possible.  
 Support from Chinese authorities (AQSIQ) to track manufacturers and subcontractors that are consistently creating cheap, fast and poorly produced goods.  
Download the full article from Connexions magazine.