Being Chinese and Buying Made In China in the USA: Part 2 of 2

October 21, 2015

I’ve been in the Number One Shanghai department store off Nanjing road and seen Chinese consumers taking TV’s from the box to insure they work.

Recently, a friend who was visiting us from China was up early in the morning walking to the Apple Store, a thirty-minute walk from our house.

To buy an iPad or iPhone in America, she was willing to get up that early and wait in line for several hours until the store opened to buy this new Apple product. And she didn’t buy just one. Her coworkers and friends in China gave her enough money to buy several Apple products that were all assembled in China but sold in the U.S.

When I asked her why not buy the iPad at one of the official Apple Stores in Beijing or Shanghai, she said if you buy something in the U.S. even if it’s made in China, the buyer can be assured of the quality.

There is some truth to that. My father-in-law’s wife arrived several years ago with a new camera she bought in China, and it stopped working the first week she was here so she bought an expensive Sony at Costco and loved it because it worked just as promised and kept on working.

It would seem that Chinese manufacturers have a long way to go to earn the trust of the Chinese consumer.

Meanwhile, 109 million Chinese tourists left China in 2014 and many bought “Made in China” outside of China and spend more than any other foreign travelers at an average of $7,200 each visit to the U.S. They also buy “Made in the USA” and products made in other countries.

Don’t believe me? Well, Bloomberg.com reported recently that “they (Chinese tourists) are the most prolific spenders in the world.”

Don’t let this blow your mind, but last week I saw a busload of Chinese tourists shopping at the Costco closest to our house. It seems that even Costco is a tourist destination and Chinese tourists buy everything even filling up shopping carts with vitamins.

Next time you hear an ignorant American complaining about China stealing jobs from the U.S., tell them how many jobs they are generating in the U.S. and how much money they are spending here, and that the U.S. is now issuing more visas for Chinese citizens for longer periods of time.

Whitehouse.gov says, “In 2013, 1.8 million Chinese travelers visited the United States, contributing $21.1 billion to the U.S. economy and supporting more than 109,000 American jobs.”  And it is estimated that by 2021, Chinese travelers to the U.S. will be supporting 440,000 U.S. jobs.

Ironic, isn’t it?

Return to or start with Part 1.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition], a historical fiction novel with a unique love story that is set in 19th century China. His latest book, a suspense thriller set in the world that Lloyd worked in as a maitre d’ in the early 1980s, is going on sale for $0.99, a savings of 75% below regular price.

99 cents Promotion Graphic OCT 2015

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Being Chinese and Buying Made In China in the USA: Part 1 of 2

October 20, 2015

Worldwatch Institute reported, “Chinese purchases of high-end items—including designer handbags, perfumes, and watches—will grow by 25 percent annually over the next four years, and that by 2015 China will be the world’s largest luxury brand consumer, with a 29 percent global share.”

In addition, CNN Money says that America is the new destination for rich Chinese shoppers. Why? “Renee Hartmann, of China Luxury Advisors, said luxury merchandise in the U.S. tends to be around 35% cheaper than in China.”

There is another reason why many Chinese tourists buy “Made in China” in other countries.

While my Chinese father-in-law and his wife were visiting in the U.S. I learned why Chinese buy here — quality.

If you read the China Law Blog, you may know that in China there are several levels of quality that do not exist in the U.S.  When buying anything in China, there is always a risk you might end up buying a fake or the real thing but of a lower quality. In fact, there is no way to tell what level of quality you are buying when in China.

That doesn’t mean “Made in China” is always of a poor quality. The language of the contract between the foreign buyer such as Apple and the Chinese manufacturer is important. If the contract between a U.S. corporation and a Chinese manufacturer specifics the quality, that’s what’s usually delivered to be shipped to the U.S. If the product is of a poor quality, then blame it on the contract the CEO of a U.S. corporation signed.

And most of the products Apple sells globally are assembled in China and many are manufactured there too (Apple has manufacturing facilities spread around the world but assembles most of its expensive electronic items such as the iPad in China).

Continued in Part 2 on October 21, 2015.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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Ten Days out of the Middle Kingdom

July 7, 2011

On April 18, The New Yorker published The Grand Tour, a long piece about ordinary Chinese pouring out of China and visiting the world as tourists a few days at a time and Europe is the most popular destination.

Evan Osnos, The New Yorker’s correspondent in China, where he has lived since 2005, wrote the piece.

To research it, Osnos joined a “Classic European” Chinese bus tour that would “traverse five countries in ten days”.  He was the only non-Chinese, and the 38 members of the tour ranged in age from six to seventy.

At 16 printed pages, it took me two sittings to read The Grand Tour, but I found it to be worth my time to learn how serious China is about joining the global community.

However, this transition did not come about easily.

An ancient Chinese proverb says, “You can be comfortable at home for a thousand days, or step out the door and run right into trouble.” Then Confucius threw guilt into the mix when he taught, “While your parents are alive, it is better not to travel far away.”

In fact, in the famous letter that Emperor Qianlong wrote to King George of Britain in 1793, he indicated there was no desire to have foreigners visit or live in China or for the Chinese to leave. “As your Ambassador can see for himself, we possess all things. I set no value on objects strange or ingenious, and have no use for your country’s manufactures.… The distinction between Chinese and barbarian is most strict, and your Ambassador’s request that barbarians shall be given full liberty to disseminate their religion is utterly unreasonable.”

In addition, Osnos said, Mao considered tourism anti-Socialist, so it wasn’t until 1978, a few years after his death, that Chinese started to gain approval to travel to other countries, and in 1997 the government allowed Chinese tourists to visit other counties in a “planned, organized and controlled manner”.

Thirteen years later in 2010, “Fifty-seven million Chinese traveled outside China,” Osnos wrote, “ranking China third worldwide in international tourism.”

During the tour, the first stop was in the modest German city of Trier, which the Chinese language guidebook described as the “Mecca of the Chinese people”.  Trier was the birthplace of Karl Marx, and there was an early morning photo opportunity in front of the house where Marx was born.

In one conversation with another member of the tour, Osnos learns what Chinese think of the Marxist revolutionary ideas that ruled the country under Mao from 1949 to 1978. “We spent thirty years on what we now know was a disaster,” one of the Chinese tourists said.

As for middle class Chinese wanting to leave China to live in other countries, think again. In another conversation in the Swiss town of Interlaken, Osnos heard, “Other than different buildings, the Seine didn’t look all that different from the Huangpu (river in Shanghai). Subway? We have a subway. You name it, we’ve got it.”

A Chinese sanitation engineer on the tour could not help but notice in Milan, Italy the abundant graffiti and overstuffed trash bins. His comment, “If it was like this in Shanghai, old folks would be calling us all afternoon to complain.”

If you want to discover more of how Chinese see the world and what they do as tourists outside China , I suggest spending time reading The Grand Tour.  As I said earlier, it was worth my time.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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Chinese tourists Buying “Made in China” in the US – Part 2/2

May 7, 2011


I’ve been in the Number One Shanghai department store off Nanjing road and seen Chinese consumers taking TV’s from the box to insure they work.

Recently, my father-in-law and his wife were up at four in the morning walking to the Apple Store a forty-minute walk from our Bay Area house.

To buy an iPad 2 in America, they were willing to get up that early and wait in line for several hours until the store opened to buy this new Apple product.

When I asked why not buy the iPad 2 at one of the Official Apple Stores in Beijing, I was told  if you buy something in the US even if made in China, the buyer can be assured of the quality.

There is some truth to that. My father-in-law’s wife arrived with a new camera bought in China.

The camera stopped working the first week she was here so she bought an expensive Sony and loved it because it worked just as promised and kept on working.

It would seem that Chinese manufacturers have a long way to go to earn the trust of the Chinese consumer.

Meanwhile, sixty million Chinese tourists are leaving China annually and buying “Made in China” outside of China then taking those purchases home.

Ironic, isn’t it?

Start with Chinese tourists Buying “Made in China” in the US – Part 1 or discover Chinese Gold from Dead Tibetan Caterpillars.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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Learning from Canada

July 10, 2010

The China Daily reported that China and Canada plan to double trade. “I have agreed with Prime Minister Harper that we should take active measures to make our countries’ two-way trade volume reach a target of $60 billion by 2015,” Hu Jintao said in Ottawa.

President Hu Jintao shaking hands with Prime Minister Harper

While the US pressures China to do something about North Korea, sells modern weapons to Taiwan and hosts the Dalai Lama at the White House, which all upset China, Canada works to build a relationship and earned approved destination status (ADS), so Chinese tourists may travel to Canada in organized, pre-sold tour groups.  Canada’s tourist industry hopes to see $100 million a year increasing tourist revenues and creating jobs.

Canada also signed several energy cooperative agreements involving oil sand, nuclear energy and gas. In addition, one agreement might mean more Canadian food products being sold to China, which creates more jobs for Canadians since so many were lost when the US Sub Prime Mortgage crises caused a global economic meltdown. 

Why can’t the US find constructive ways like these to do the same—shrink the trade imbalance with China and create jobs at home without irritating Beijing?

See Doing Business in China

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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Freedom

May 7, 2010

If you have been reading “iLookChina.net”, you may have discovered that many Chinese have similar freedoms to Americans. 

Every citizen in the US has a right to a mandatory education to twelfth grade. China has mandatory education too, and the better the education, the higher earning power.

Americans may buy property but so can the Chinese. In America, most homeowners have to pay annual property tax but not in China. In fact, if one has the money, he or she may buy anything sold in China just as in the US. But most Chinese pay with cash and still manage to save.

The average American carries $8,000 in credit card debt. If you are an American, are you one of those credit card slaves?

 

Recent estimates say sixty-five million Chinese globetrot as tourists. In 2007, it was estimated that fifty-seven million Americans traveled internationally.

About the only freedom the Chinese don’t have is they aren’t free to publicly criticize their government. The punishment is severe, but that is spelled out in their constitution. It isn’t a secret.

In America, we might have a Bill of Rights to protection us from our government, but we don’t have any protection from violent street gangs that clog every American city. China has one person in jail for about every 867 Chinese.  In America, it’s about one out of every 31 adults.

What does freedom look like to you?

To learn more, see “You’ve come a long ways, Babe“.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart. He also Blogs at The Soulful Veteran and Crazy Normal.

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Rediscovering China

February 15, 2010

China has turned into a tourist destination—for the Chinese.

Before Nixon visited China, the country was surrounded by an invisible bamboo curtain. It’s citizens were not allowed to travel far—even from their homes. In September and October 2008, there were so many Chinese tourists, that we were the minority.

Sedan Chairs Waiting to Climb the Dragon's Back

The Dragon’s Back is in Southeast China near Vietnam. After our bus climbed a narrow, winding mountain road, we reached a parking lot. For a few yuan, we gained entry and men with iron legs were willing to carry us to the top in sedan chairs. We walked.

The construction of the Longi Rice Terraces started during the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368). Today, many Zhuan and Yao ethnic people live simple lives that honor the laws of nature. China’s central government encourages that life.

A hundred feet further, vendor’s stalls lined both sides of the road. It was China’s market economy in action reminding me of Disneyland and the shops that sold trinkets no one needs.

Halfway to the top, we reached a village built on stilts clinging to the mountain. The steep slopes were terraced to grow rice. Since it was mid afternoon, we stopped to eat local rice cooked in sections of bamboo on a hot bed of coals.

Cleaning Home Grown Rice Safe from the Sun

Mao’s Cultural Revolution ended decades in the past, and China is moving on while time seems to stand still on the Dragon’s Back.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart.