The shoe is on the other foot for Chi­nese pro­duc­ers

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - 2016-17: REVIEW & PREVIEW - Zhu Wen­qian RE­PORTER’S LOG

The other day I read a me­dia re­port about a Chi­nese col­lege stu­dent buy­ing a pair of Chi­nese-made basketball shoes when he was trav­el­ing abroad. The shoes had since served him well. A friend of his l ater bought a pair of shoes in China made by the same com­pany, but af­ter only two months of use, the cush­ion­ing parts broke.

China doesn’t lack the abil­ity to pro­duce high-end goods, but it does lack ad­vanced in­dus­try stan­dards and the mech­a­nisms to dis­cour­age man­u­fac­tur­ers from ap­ply­ing dif­fer­ent stan­dards when they pro­duce goods for dif­fer­ent mar­kets.

Chi­nese con­sumers are in­creas­ingly spend­ing big money on high-end prod­ucts, ex­quis­ite pack­ing and the lat­est styles, but there is a lack of sup­ply of high-end prod­ucts in the home mar­ket.

No mat­ter if it’s Sin­gles Day on Nov 11, ar­guably China’s big­gest shop­ping day of the year, or for­eign shop­ping days such as Black Fri­day, the Chi­nese have shown their love of shop­ping by con­tin­u­ally set­ting new sales records.

Yet, a large amount of spend­ing by many Chi­nese con­sumers has gone in the di­rec­tion of over­seas shop­ping agents, cross-bor­der e-com­merce web­sites, or re­tail­ers of for­eign­branded prod­ucts sold in China.

When Chris­tian Dior be­came the first lux­ury brand to sell its iconic Lady Dior bags on WeChat for the Chi- nese equiv­a­lent of Valen­tine’s Day, the Qixi fes­ti­val, in Au­gust, the limited edi­tion was sold out on­line the sec­ond day af­ter it was posted.

Ev­ery year, as Valen­tine’s Day ap­proaches, florists record a surge in the sales of roses, es­pe­cially those high-end im­ported va­ri­eties, as more peo­ple or­der lux­ury bou­quets packed in rec­tan­gu­lar boxes. Many of those del­i­cate blooms are grown and trans­ported from as far away as Ecuador in South Amer­ica.

The tastes of Chi­nese con­sumers are chang­ing. With a higher de­mand for brands and cost-ef­fec­tive prod­ucts, qual­ity in­stead of price has be­come the key to mar­ket com­pe­ti­tion.

Many China-made top-qual­ity prod­ucts, like mo­bile phones, elec­tric rice cook­ers, cloth­ing and food have been ex­ported over­seas, and sold only in for­eign mar­kets. Chi­nese con­sumers have to spend more time and more money to buy them when they travel abroad, through e-com­merce web­sites, or through over­seas buy­ing agents.

I hope to see more prod­ucts pro­duced to the same stan­dards for both the home and over­seas mar­kets, and more qual­ity goods of­fered to the picky Chi­nese con­sumers.

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