Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Made in China but does it work?

Fifty years ago, if you wanted to calumniate a product you turned it over and pretended to read on the bottom, 'Made in Hong Kong' and everybody would laugh because they knew that if it were made in Hong Kong then it would be manufactured from bright yellow plastic and probably came from a Christmas cracker. And then somewhere along the line the Japanese electronics manufacturers realised that they could teach the Hong Kong Chinese to assemble their stereo systems and pay them not much to do it and gradually 'Made in Hong Kong' lost its reputation for cheapness and unreliability.

It would seem that it is the mainland Chinese who have now adopted the poor reputation. Have you managed to purhase anything electronic that has been made in China and which functions correctly? I have owned a digital letter scale which tried to convince me that my airmail letter weighed as much as a bag of apples; a video camera which would record for one minute before the image began to flick back and forth across the screen; I've had torches that won't switch on and cycle lights that won't switch off. The extent of the problem is insidious. I bought a Roberts radio (a traditional British company) which I discovered had been manufactured in China when I turned it over to assertain why the pre-set tuning system was failing.

What are we to do? China now dominates the manufacturing scene but seems to be providing us with second rate products... or are they merely exporting their faulty goods and keeping the properly functioning stuff for themselves? I ask this question because when I worked in Bangladesh in 1987 I bought a Chinese vacuum flask which leaked and a Chinese speaker told me that the text on the box indicated that it was faulty. I returned to the stall from which I had bought it and checked. The entire stock was faulty. 

Is the West being used as a dumping ground?