Where Does the Money Go?

May 6, 2010

“China doesn’t keep all the money paid for products made in China. Everyone in the supply chain shares.” I heard Zachary Karabell say this at the 2010 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

Today, I read a post in Bind Apple that emphasized the fact that Apple products are made in China but didn’t mention that Apple also manufactures in the United States, Malaysia and Indonesia and other countries. The post also emphasized the sixty-hour workweek and low pay as if it were a bad thing.

In fact, Apple says, “Their products and components are manufactured by a wide variety of suppliers around the world.  The final assembly of most products occurs in China.”

Most Chinese do not mind working sixty-hour weeks and the money earned may be low by American standards but is higher than most rural Chinese earn. 

These factory workers also send money home and manage to save, since China’s average saving rate is 40%. China’s culture is based on Confucianism, which focuses on collective rights instead of the individual.  Those workers are not working for themselves. They are working for their family and that includes parents and grandparents, who are contributing too.

Learn more about who Confucius was, or see what was going on at Apple’s Foxconn facility in Guanlan, China.

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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The U.S. China Media Divide

May 5, 2010

Zachary Karabell, who was on the “China: The Next Super Power?” panel at UCLA, April 24, said that there is a perception problem ( due to ignorance) between the citizens of the United States and China. 

For more than two millennia, Chinese society has been based on collective rights—not individual rights. When there is a piece in the People’s Daily, the Chinese people know that the collective voice of their government is speaking. If a Chinese citizen disagrees, they usually keep their opinion to themselves and it is not for public consumption as in America.

China's Pvailion at World Expo in Shanghai

Most Chinese cannot understand that in America there are many individual, outspoken voices and opinions in the media.  If a senator or congressional representative is quoted in the media blaming China for poisoned infant formula or drywall or taking jobs away from Americans, many Chinese see this as the voice of America’s leadership even if it isn’t.

The reporters and editors for China’s state media do not need to be told what to write or say.  Since they are Chinese with the same collective cultural beliefs, they know what is unacceptable without being told. The only way these perceptions change is if the leadership at the top signals a change by telling the state media to cover stores that were off limits. This is alien to American citizens who grew up in a culture based on individual rights.

That does not mean the Chinese people do not have a voice. To understand, read the Power of Public Debate 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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Innovative Chinese-American Fusion

May 3, 2010

Sitting in Young Hall (CS 50) at the 2010 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on April 24, I heard Zachary Karabell explain why China and the United States were one economy.  If you want to learn more, I suggest reading Superfusion. Karabell also said China relies on American innovation.

This morning, an example of that American innovation appeared as an advertisement for the CODA, an all-electric car.  Usually, I ignore the Ads, which often are pains slightly below the tip of the spine.

The CODA, an all-electric car

This time, I clicked the Ad and discovered that the CODA was being manufactured mostly by a joint effort between China and a few of those American innovators Karabell mentioned.  To give you an idea of how global the CODA is, check out the following list.

“About 40 percent of the components in the car, when measured by monetary value, come from US manufacturers, such as Borg Warner. The battery inside Coda’s sedan comes from a joint venture owned by Coda and China’s Tianjin Lishen Battery Co. The electronics for thermal and battery management of the pack were designed and will be produced in the US and shipped to Asia. The car will be built on assembly lines in China, with Coda engineers remaining full-time on the manufacturing floor to oversee production. Maybe ten percent of the original [Chinese] design is left.” Source: Matter Network

Also see Holding a Vital Key to Humanity’s Future

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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The Next Super Power

April 30, 2010

On April 24, I attended a panel at the 2010 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. The topic was “China: The Next Superpower?” The experts were Richard Baum, author of China Watcher: Confessions of a Peking Tom; Zachary Karabell, Superfusion, and Jeffrey Wasserstrom, China in the 21st Century.

Baum is an expert on politics; Karabell on money/economics, and Wasserstrom on history.

Wasserstrom said that China is not the older country. The PRC was sixty-years old while the United States was more than two hundred, and that the Communist and American Revolutions rejected colonialism then both expanded into other countries and territories to become world powers.

Baum added that the cultural differences are significant starting with Confucianism, which expresses collective rights instead of individual rights as in America.

Karabell mentioned that there was a lot of misunderstanding and ignorance between the United States and China. For one thing, China’s trade with the world is about even between exports and imports and what China buys from the United States keeps many Americans working.

Learn about Human Rights the Chinese Way

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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. 

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.