‘Made in China’ is no longer a compromise on quality
China has made progress in the manufacturing quality of many goods over the past 30 years, and has made steady progress towards moving away from its ‘low price – low quality’ image.
The giftware industry is one such area. Just perusing the halls of the popular Canton Fair (held annually in April & October) gives you a sense of just how far giftware lines have come and a heightened sense of how much is actually made there. Follow this exhibition with a visit to the Reed Gift Fair and you will find yourself wondering what is not made in China?
On more recent trips to China, I have been impressed with the number of factory managers I have met who are preparing for their own overseas travel to source better equipment and technology. These astute managers are keenly alert that for them to remain competitive in their own environment, they must improve their production quality. They also know that by achieving internationally recognised testing accreditation this opens them up to a much wider global customer base.
Pressure to improve quality has come not only from international importers. Chinese manufacturers are also under pressure to satisfy their own local consumer demands. These demands are from a growing middle class as well as an increasing number of very wealthy, who are quality conscious and who have a strong sense of national pride in their own “China made’goods. . Recognisable Chinese brand names include Great Wall (Cars), Haier (White Goods), Lenovo (Computers), Anta (Clothing) and Qingdao (Beer).
One of China Blueprints clients is a designer of high- end bath and body products and has been designing packaging manufactured in China for the past 3 years. This includes box packaging, glass bottles and jewellery. Interestingly one of her manufacturers is rated as one of the top 3 in China for producing glass perfume bottles. Their quality is impeccable and their products have graced the shelves of many high end perfume and cosmetic countries globally. Finding and then dealing with high end manufacturers like this though can be difficult as they don’t always consider Australian order quantities large enough to warrant their interest.
When looking for a factory that produces quality, consider;
• who the factories current customers are,
• which markets they produce for and
• at what end of the market,
• what machinery they use,
• do they offer a guarantee on their goods and
• are they particular about understanding your product requirements?
A useful tip is to ask the factory if they manufacture their own branded range of goods. Quite often a Chinese manufacturer who has their own brand will pay greater attention to their quality, because their customers are in their backyard.
Quality has come a long way and will continue to improve so long as consumers continue to demand it and China retains its ambition to retain its title as the ‘worlds manufacturer’.