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Tuesday, August 20, 2019
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Ng: Made in China

Wired Desktop

FOR many years, Made in China products have literally been everywhere.

China has been the world’s factory for practically the last 25 years. In fact, there was always that moniker, “God made the world, and China made the rest.” But along with the ubiquity of the products was something else—most China-made products were cheap and shoddy. They cost less, but the quality was always suspect.

Of course, as China developed, they started to develop better products. It is well known that almost all Apple products, known for their high quality, are made in China. It is not that China could not make better products—it is that making cheaper products that sold a lot seemed to be a better business strategy.

Then China also started to upscale.

Lenovo is a computer manufacturer, and it also got a big boost after it bought IBM’s personal computer and server business, as well as the Motorola mobile phones.

Now, it is the world’s top PC maker, and it is generally well known to be of high quality and premium value. Another high-quality brand that comes to mind is Haier, the Chinese appliance maker, which also got a boost when it bought General Electric’s appliance company.

A few weeks ago, Apple announced fewer sales of its iPhones, primarily due to its decline in the China market. This may be because many Chinese cellphone manufacturers, notably Huawei, Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo, are now producing phones whose technology and quality seem to rival Apple without Apple’s premium pricing.

In fact, Huawei has gained the reputation of being a very innovative smart phone, and as of this writing, is now the world’s second biggest phone manufacturer after Samsung, overtaking Apple. With the advantage of its large domestic market, Huawei is now trying to overtake Samsung in one or two years.

China’s internet infrastructure is also perceived to be much better than many countries. Three of the leading companies in the tech space are TenCent, Alibaba and Baidu, all perceived to be as good and advanced as Google, Facebook, Amazon or AWS in the arena. In fact, TenCent is the maker of WeChat, which is now used by over a billion people not only to chat, but to transfer money, which is even ahead of the US. Alibaba is the e-commerce platform that rivals Amazon.

Video streaming is also a standard now for China. Instead of getting a cable subscription, most TV units in China are already “smart.” All you need to do is get an internet connection, and from the TV itself, you can already play hundreds of different channels from all over the world. Also popular are websites that offer video streaming on-demand (like Netflix and Youtube). The leaders of this field are Iqiyi, Tencent video and Youku, and all of them are robust platforms where you can have selections of thousands of movies, TV programs and documentaries.

China also leads the electric car space with brands like BYD. Anyhow, I am sure more and more Chinese brands will go international and will no longer be considered shoddy or cheap.


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