Sunday, January 6, 2008

Western media ploy to destroy China’s toy exports has the opposite effect

Over the past 2-3 years, the Western media concerted schemes, sometimes with a devious hidden agenda, to report whatever negative consequences from the usage of Chinese products ranging from perceived banned substances in toothpaste, seafood and other processed food to children's toys.

Manufactured products from China are known for its low price and obviously, the product quality cannot be comparable in every aspect with another expensive substitute, many times higher, than the products from developed countries or a nation which has many preceding years of established manufacturing practices. For me, it is better to judge China as a developing country, which has only been in the international manufacturing business since 1991, when it goes full scale into an export oriented led growth in its economic direction.

The silver lining from the international outcry over the perceived unsafe and poor quality of Chinese goods has led to the implementation of strict manufacturing practices and higher standard of monitoring of production goods in China. Given time, I am sure that the export of poor quality goods from China will be a thing of the past.

Chinese basic and essential goods for the masses have the effect of helping even developed country like the US to manage its inflation level especially the countless food items. Poor people who cannot afford to buy motorbikes, television and DVD players are now enjoying a lifestyle and upgraded living where they could only dream of during the heydays of pricey consumer electronics, transportation equipments and communication peripherals.

Last year, America’s Mattel Inc recalled more than 21 million Chinese-made toys internationally. The Barbie patented dolls with related accessories and other toy cars were withdrawn from the markets because of the fear of lead paint and loose small parts which may pose a danger to young children. Even the manufacturer designed detachable magnets are not spare in the worldwide recall. Other US headquartered toy manufacturers which have its manufacturing outlets in China also followed the recall trend. Tires importers of Chinese brands also complained about the non compliance of certain safety standards. Anything which is imported from another country that do not meet the standard of safety and quality of the importing country are supposed to be checked at the entrance point of the country. Why passed the blame to the producing country solely?

Later, Mattel apologized for the incident to the Chinese government, which was also internationally reported by the Western media. My immediate question was to what extent these negative ramifications would have on the demand of Chinese toys throughout the world.

A latest report from a Chinese Daily stated that exports of Chinese toys increased by 20.1% in the first 10 months from January to October as compared to the corresponding period in 2006. China shipped $7.1 billion worth of toys abroad and a large portion of the orders were for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season at the end of the year 2007. Even exports to the United States, rose 13.3% in the first 10 months of 2007 from a year earlier. China is the world's top toy exporter, selling 22 billion toys overseas in 2006, or 60% of the globe's total.

In view of the reasons given above, China will continue to be a top producer of many more products in the years ahead and the Western media will need to come up with a more believable strategy if it intent to dent the world’s factory in China.

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