The phrase “Made in China” has been coined by foreign companies that have turned China into the manufacturing hub of the world; Many international firms have chosen China as the place to manufacture goods cheaply.
“Made in China” has been the key factor for high growth rates that have been prominent in China for the past three decades. Today, however, a change of policy is taking place. Policy makers realize that they can no longer rely on workers to work for scraps: As inflation and the quality of life rise, workers need more money to support themselves and their families financially, and they demand higher salaries from employers. Factories, therefore, are forced to raise salaries to meet demand; Higher salaries scare off certain companies that look to exploit cheap labor and to make large profit margins; Those that choose to stay, pay more. Consequently, workers spend more and help push the economy forward; This phenomenon creates a shift in the source of economic growth – from a manufacturing based growth to a consumerism based growth.
From “Made in China” to “Made Here”
Chinese society is turning into a consumer based society. China no longer wishes to be seen as a country whose growth is based solely on the ability to make goods cheaply but rather as a country whose growth is based on the ability to create new products, to innovate new ideas and to lead the world in new directions.
It is clear that this process will take years, if not decades, because a change in the state of mind of people must take place: People in China (and in other parts of Asia) are accustomed, culturally, to save money rather than to spend it. That is the reason why a relentless effort (in the form of nonstop advertising) is now being carried out by foreign and local companies to cause people to spend more.
I would like to conduct an experiment to better understand the magnitude and speed of this phenomenon, and I hope you will indulge me: I am asking each of you to take a look at what you are wearing right now and to identify where the items you are wearing were made. I wonder: Are goods still mostly “Made in China”?
My sweater, polo shirt, shoes and jeans were all made in China.
What about you?