Founder's Field Notes Podcast :

The Stigma of the Made In China Label

The Stigma of the Made In China Label

Why Made In China Is Surrounded by Negative Connotations

It’s been clear for a myriad of years that an abundance of products we use are made in China, yet many consumers are still so peeved at the thought of supporting a company whose production and manufacturing are held overseas. Where did this stigma come from and what can we do to educate consumers on what Made In China really means?
January 6, 2021

It’s been clear for a myriad of years that an abundance of products we use are made in China, yet many consumers are still so peeved at the thought of supporting a company whose production and manufacturing are held overseas. Where did this stigma come from and what can we do to educate consumers on what Made In China really means?

Why Made In China Is Surrounded by Negative Connotations

So where did this controversy behind ethical consumerism and its contradiction with Chinese factories begin? While there’s no specific single uproar-causing event, we can safely say it was due to...well, in a nutshell, bad business. Companies from a myriad of industries determined to keep profits at an all-time high while ensuring costs are consistently at all-time lows were realizing more cost-cutting procedures could widen their profit margins, especially in China where quality control is either nonexistent or less stringent than in other countries. But it’s not just labor - executive decision-makers were also willing to accept lower quality products, meaning cheaper products, to keep costs at a minimum.

The lack of quality control for some of these factories started imploded with issues, and since news travels quickly in this day and age, the unfortunate circumstances surrounding factory scandals (such as the 2008 Chinese Milk Scandal, the Rana Plaza Collapse, and the Foxconn Working Conditions Scandal) have significantly influenced our perception of product production and manufacturing in China.

This isn’t the case with every manufacturer and certainly not with every Chinese factory, but the malicious decisions of some, coupled with extensive media coverage and the world of social sharing, paved the way for many others to turn away from Made In China products as they were now seen as tainted.

Why Made In China Isn’t Bad

Despite many high-quality products made in China in factories under excellent working conditions, Chinese-made products are still synonymous with poor quality and deplorable working conditions. But it really doesn’t have to be this way anymore. We, along with many other brands and firms, (like those mentioned in this article about manufacturing ethically in China), are aiming to end this stigma once and for all.

In addition to vetting Chinese factories with high-quality processes and procedures, high-quality tooling, and obtaining quality control and project management personnel to ensure standards stay high and working conditions are virtuous, companies like us are primarily US-based so there are actually more components of product development one is supporting in the US than in China. Thus, before a dismissal of the Made In China label entirely, consider the following explanation from our Senior Project Manager, Katie (who aids in our Chinese manufacturing projects) on all the people and families you’re really supporting - including those in China who are in righteous working environments:

  • Design Services
    • An American company paying US taxes, all employees paying income taxes
  • Manufacturing Support
    • An American company, paying company taxes, all employees paying income taxes (this is where I fit into this picture, i.e. paying income taxes and supporting my entire family here in Utah)
  • When the product shipment container arrives in the U.S.
    • Tariffs are paid directly to the U.S. Government at rates up to 35%+
    • Port employees – American employees, paying income taxes
    • Union Pacific Railroad or Semi Trucks that move the containers to the distribution center – all American companies with American employees
    • Distribution Center – an American company paying taxes, all employees paying income taxes
    • Delivery companies such as USPS, UPS, or FedEx – support hundreds of thousands of American families who all pay US income tax
  • Marketing/Advertising team
    • All American employees, all paying income taxes

The Bottom Line

Scandals have and will continue to surface, but that shouldn’t degrade the incredibly hard-working and well-treated employees in both the United States and China that come together to build a quality product you love. Manufacturing is such a small piece to an entire infrastructure of the United States’ (and really the entire world’s) economy. While there are important and necessary discussions Chinese factory scandals have brought to light (i.e. given us a serious look into the importance of matching our dollar with our values), it’s unfair to so many of those working in all aspects of bringing a product to fruition to turn away a product solely due to its Made In China label. The best thing we can do to support hard-working Americans is to continue supporting American companies. So the next time you purchase an item that’s Made In China, consider all of those you’re supporting in the list above, and hopefully those you’re supporting in China too.

Say hi to our development management team in China!

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About Founder’s Field Notes:

Founder's Field Notes is a must-watch for any founder or aspiring entrepreneur. This show is a unique blend of business education and inspiration, aimed at helping founders and future entrepreneurs overcome the struggles of starting and running a business. Jason Klug, Founder and CEO of Klugonyx, chats with fellow experts in the entrepreneurship world to provide in-depth analysis and expert advice on the most pressing issues facing today's business owners. So, if you're looking to take your business to the next level, tune in bi-weekly to Founder's Field Notes!

About Klugonyx:

Klugonyx is a leading full service product development company that specializes in bringing innovative ideas to life. With years of experience in the industry, Klugonyx has a proven track record of helping clients turn their visions into successful products.

At Klugonyx, we provide end-to-end services to support our clients through every step of the product development process. From ideation and engineering to prototyping and manufacturing sourcing, we work closely with our clients to ensure their ideas become a reality!

We work with clients across all industries, and our goal is to be an educational and collaborative asset to them throughout the entire product development journey. Our team in Salt Lake City, UT, brings together a wealth of expertise and experience, while our team of 35+ professionals in China provides boots-on-the-ground support and white-glove service to help manage and source all aspects of manufacturing.

At Klugonyx, we believe that innovation is the key to success, and we are committed to delivering cutting-edge solutions that exceed our clients' expectations. With our comprehensive product development services, we provide a one-stop-shop for all your product development needs. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you turn your ideas into reality.

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