Saturday, July 11, 2009

Poorly made in China - Paul Midler

cebit asia shanghai chinaLooking for opportunities by dotdean via Flickr
"Why can they make it so cheap in China," is a question asked more than once in Paul Midler excellent account of China's now partly defunct export industry. Midler has been taken many foreign fortune seekers by their hand into the tricky dealings of Chinese business.
They all do not believe their ears, when they get offers from Chinese manufacturers. They know it cannot be done for such a price, but they still go ahead. The trick is of course that Chinese manufacturers cannot make shampoo and other products for the price they initially quote, so they develop strategies to save costs. They make bottles cheaper, they do not fill the whole bottle, they use cheaper ingredients. No trick is off limits and by the time the buyers discover something is really wrong, their commitment to the manufacturer does not allow them to just jump to its neighbor.
"Poorly Made in China: An Insider's Account of the Tactics Behind China's Production Game" is of course a must-read for anybody who enters the China market, looking for export products. But will they, when China's export will be picking up by 2010? I'm afraid not. For people who know China like Paul Midler, the book is a feast of very recognizable situations. But Midler's foreign clients mostly seem realize they have come into an Alice-in-Wonderland situation that is too nice to be true. But they still lose their marbles.
Still, they should read the book, even if it is only after things went wrong in China.



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