September 16, 2014

Made in China – PR Problem?

“Made in China”  I search for this phrase daily now as I shop for my family.  When my son was only three, he would search for it on his toys and we would all joke about how everything we owned was made in China.  Now I’m trying to avoid these imported products.  I, like so many Americans have become leery of China’s goods.  Tainted milk and fish have marked all Chinese products and so even high quality  small electronics are being avoided.  Tim Somheil of Appliance Magazine writes more:

The appliance industry sources huge numbers of small electrics, consumer electronics, and even white goods out of China. The vast majority are high-quality appliances, well made, certified to international safety standards, and—because they’re made in China—they offer a cost advantage that enables the consumer to get a better product for the price.

Of course,it is a vast overgeneralization by the public to associate well-made appliances with tainted milk, but that association is reality.

China—for the good of all the enterprises that manufacture consumer goods within its borders—desperately needs to take a more honest approach. When there’s a crisis involving Chinese-made products, of any kind, the country needs to embrace that problem immediately and publicly.

Consider how pleasantly surprised consumers would be if they saw China demonstrate willingness to take ownership of a crisis, without hesitation, and provide full disclosure on the problem’s cause and scope.

And consider what the impact would be if offshore consumers saw this approach consistently. The credibility of the government as a spokesperson for the “Made in China” brand would grow—and China would get real credit from the public for its considerable product safety efforts.

Maybe the best possible scenario in the next few years is to move many consumers’ perception from negative to neutral. That’s still a huge step in the right direction for all manufacturers with “Made in China” stamped on their products.

At this point I really have very little confidence in the integrity of Chinese manufacturers.  I’m no longer incredulous when I hear of a problem product out of China – instead I sigh and hope for the safety of those effected.