Are You A Made-In-China Snob?

I'm A Made-In-China Snob

This is a topic I’ve been mulling over for a while now, and I’ve been contemplating on posting it because of the repercussions it might cause. I cannot help but think that I am not the only one who thinks this way. I think I can safely say that most, if not all, of us own something that was made in China.

Here’s a funny story about something I have that’s made in China. I purchased a beautiful Coach leather tote in the US on my honeymoon a few years ago. This wasn’t bought at a flea market, but at a proper retail outlet. After I brought it home, I found this in the bag.

Coach Bag

Was I disappointed? To tell you the truth, I was a little. I shouldn’t be surprised that a lot of brands now outsource their luxury leather goods to China for manufacture. Still, it was a bit of a letdown. Nevertheless it’s a beautifully made bag in buttery-soft leather, so I soon forgot about it.

A year later, when I was in Malaysia for my annual vacation, I happened to be at one of the flea markets in Penang, which is very popular for selling fake designer bags. Louis Vuitton, Prada and Coach were aplenty. I had a look at one of the “Coach” bags, and I was very amused to find a similar tag as shown above sewn into the lining the bag. However, this time, it said that the bag was “made in the USA”. So, real Coach bags are made in China, and the fake ones are made in the USA! πŸ˜‰

I’m a snob when it comes to skincare products and where it’s made. Many months ago, I was sent a product for review, a very expensive night cream I might add, and on the side of the box it was stamped “Made in China”. I was apprehensive in slathering that on my face, so it’s currently going on my neck. I’m glad to say that my neck did not break out in hives, and the cream is working well. But I did judge the product initially because of where it was made.

Juicy Couture

A Juicy Couture merino dress I bought from Net-a-porter

A similar issue that irks me is purchasing clothes in Australia. As many of you know, Australian brands like Portmans, Sportsgirl, etc are expensive compared to brands like Zara, Topshop, ASOS, Forever21 etc. However, when you check the Aussie labels, you’ll find that you’re paying a premium for clothes made in China. I’ve seen this on Australian designer labels as well, and it’s something I don’t understand. If the clothes are made in Australia, then yes, I understand why we pay a premium, because labour costs are high. However, labour costs are significantly lower in China, so why are we paying so much for designer goods that are outsourced to China?

You’ll think that this whole post in about China-bashing. I don’t oppose to the fact that yes, it is far cheaper to outsource products to China to be manufactured, but it stings greatly when we have to pay a premium for them when it only cost them a fraction of the cost to make.

Still, you cannot beat globalization, and I simply cannot avoid the fact that if I wanted something, 90% of the time, it will be made in China. I’ve made my peace with that. As long as I don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for it, I”m good. But I do draw the line at skincare products.

What about you? Are you a made-in-China snob? Does it matter to you where the product is made?

Recommended reading: Deluxe – How Luxury Lost Its Lustre by Dana Thomas

Update: I’m afraid I wasn’t clear as to the objective of the post, which also means I have inadvertently caused offence to some. It should have been worded better and explained further. My apologies.

I know what the Chinese are paid for their labour; a mere pittance, and it’s a sad and cruel fact. It isn’t a practice we should condone.

However, I was writing as an Australian consumer, and I question the reason we pay a premium for things here that are made in China. The old saying “You get what you pay for” doesn’t really work here. E.g if I were to pay $100 for a dress from a popular Australian high-street label, I expect good quality wear, right? That’s often not the case. Many-a-time, the fabric is cheap, the sewing shoddy, and lo-and-behold, the label says “made in China”. But it’s not a designer label! So why does it cost $100? I don’t know.

As a consumer in Australia, I often find myself on the short end of the stick, because I find that I have no choice but to purchase low quality items at high prices. Surely I can buy something else; buy Australian-made goods then, if I’m too big for my britches to buy China-made goods. I would love more than anything to support the local industries and buy locally-made goods, but that’s not always possible as Australian-made goods are expensive.

We don’t know what goes on behind the scenes (and we’re not supposed to know!), but at the end of the day, our hard-earned dollars should go to something that is of good/reasonable quality. And if it’s high-priced and low quality, my answer is no. Regardless of where it’s made.

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61 comments… add one
  1. Chelsea

    SURE AM! I’m a massive Made-in-China snob. I prefer to purchase products that are Australian made, simply because I’m supporting Australian workers. I also have a big issue with paying top dollar for products we all know were made so cheap. Oh, and my biggest issue is when the Australian flag is made in China. But that’s another rant for another day πŸ˜‰
    Chelsea recently posted..Review: The Body Shop Vitamin C Radiance PowderMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Chelsea: Hahaha I have a feeling almost all the flags from most countries are made in China. But don’t take my word for it πŸ˜›

      As for purchasing Australian made products, I have no problem paying more money for it, because I know the strict quality control Australia has over their locally-made goods. Like you, I also have a problem paying a premium for something we know took so little to make. And it’s wrong because I feel like I’m supporting the poor work ethics and environment in China. If they charge so much for it, and the workers get so little for it, where does the money go to? That I’d like to know.

  2. LeGeeque

    Sigh. You know me so awesomely well. Not only will I steer clear of Made in China skincare, I’m steering clear of any food that’s coming in from China. I’m so paranoid I don’t trust our quarantine officers that they’d stop dodgy products from coming in. Like you, I understand if my Country Road wool sweater which costs an arm and a leg (I own too many of them. The latest one in emerald green will look great against our skin tones, hee) was made in Bendigo from local wool sourced from within Bendigo and then shipped to the rest of the country. But it’s made in freaking China and I don’t even know what sort of wool it is! Merino, it claims, it could jolly well be merino in farmlands in China! I try to buy locally-sourced items to ensure a sustainable future but it requires a lot of discipline. (and a flexible bank account)
    LeGeeque recently posted..Inglot Nail Polish 321My Profile

    1. Tine

      LeGeeque: I would be more than happy to support the local industry, but like you said, it requires quite a healthy and hefty bank account since locally-made goods are so expensive.
      I do try to stay away from processed food made in China as much as possible, but it’s hard when we do eat out (don’t know what people use in their cooking). I like Chinese cooking too, and luncheon meat is hard to stay away from (Spam just doesn’t taste the same) πŸ˜›

  3. Ling

    YES I AM! But at the same time, I feel bad – because that is where the Chinese people come from, right? One time I insulted a China (Shanghai) gf because I was like, Ugh, it’s made in China. She was NOT impressed. Oopsie!
    Ling recently posted..How To : Gold & Blue Half-Moon ManicureMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Ling: OUCH. But I know what you mean. I made a mistake of labeling people from Hong Kong “Hongkies” in front of someone from Hong Kong back in Dundee, and he wasn’t happy. Apologies if this offends you, but I really don’t know how to call people from Hong Kong. Hong Kongites?

      1. Ling

        Oops, are they not called Hongkies???!!! Hahaha…I call them that too! But I ‘think’ the term is Hong Kong-ers….but then again…don’t quote me!! I did something similar to a Malaysian Chinese friend – I called her Malay… OOPS! I don’t know! LOLz. Us BBC’s (British Born Chinese) take the pee outta each other all the time…we call each other Chinx – so not PC, LOL!
        Ling recently posted..How To : Gold & Blue Half-Moon ManicureMy Profile

        1. dom

          Hahah that’s because Malays are a different race! πŸ™‚
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          1. dom

            Oops – what I meant was Malaysia is a multicultural and multiracial countries, so we’re Malaysian, not Malay πŸ™‚ I don’t like the whole ‘I’m Malaysian Chinese/Malaysian Malay/Malaysian Indian’ thing because I’m proud to be Malaysian.

    2. Ling

      Oh wow…reading all the comments now…

      But can I just add that I am a snob with made-in-china-skincare stuff but it doesnt stop me using it…and also with make-up too but again, doesnt stop me using it…and I am definitely not a snob about clothes and handbags and shoes or whatnot.

      I would like to say that I am totally against paying extortionate amounts of $ when it’s made in China where the people there get paid peanuts…I’m that kinda snob but not the other kind of snob…

      I hope that makes sense. But yeah…
      Ling recently posted..How To : Gold & Blue Half-Moon ManicureMy Profile

  4. Rin

    Pilgrim is an aussie brand made right here in oz. One of the reasons why I love it so much πŸ™‚ And yep, I’m a made in China snob…
    Rin recently posted..Current Beauty Obsessions – Chantecaille & ChanelMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Rin: Ahh that’s a good brand πŸ™‚

  5. Sukie

    I certainly am quite the snob when it comes to such products! For instance, The Hada Labo products sold in Malaysia are Made in China whereas in Singapore, they are Made in Japan. I waited until I stopped over at the Changi airport to pick up Hada Labo products! *sheepish* I’ve heard a lot of horror stories regarding China-made products so I’m wary of them, especially when it comes to skin care.
    Sukie recently posted..A Teeny Haul from Hat Yai, Thailand.My Profile

    1. Tine

      Sukie: To be honest, I had no idea Hada Labo was made in China until I posted this article, and then saw the comments about it. Which was quite a slap on the face because I posted a couple of reviews on two Hada Labo products that I do like, and they’re made in China! I should reword the article and say “I wouldn’t knowingly buy skincare made in China”. Regarding Hada Labo, after googling where it’s from, I’m afraid I still don’t know the answers. Apparently the ones sold in Malaysia are made in China, and the ones in Japan, made in Japan? So which ones are correct? *head scratcher*

      1. Sukie

        I’m equally clueless, Tine! Well as Paris mentioned she’s tried both the Made in China and Made in Japan variants and they seem to work just fine for her so it really shouldn’t be a problem for us! Well yes, the ones sold in Malaysia are made in China but I’ve bought Hada Labo (the BB Cream) online from Hong Kong’s Adam Beauty and that’s Made in Japan! Then again, it’s only skin care that I’m careful with. =)

        I applaud your courage for bringing up such a controversial topic! *hugs*
        Sukie recently posted..First ever Giveaway! =)My Profile

  6. Paris B

    I am a flexible snob πŸ™‚ If its a large global brand (for skincare) I’m less concerned and I don’t check where its made. If its a little known or new brand I will not use it. For Hada Labo there was a lot of outcry locally that ours says Made in China but its still flying off the shelves and I’ve tried both the Made in China and Made in Japan ones and they both feel the same. I do notice that the newer lines are coming straight from Japan though.

    That said I’ve also heard that some brands say they are made in say France or USA but are in fact made in China – it could just be a part that came from France or USA and so they can brand it that way. So snobbery can have its repercussions – we don’t get all the facts. I don’t even know that that Chanel bag, for example, is still made in France unless I visit the factory and see my bag made before my very eyes. We don’t know if its really Made in Japan or if it just says so.

    For clothes, I’m less fussed. Fact is, China is the clothes factory of the world and they can do it much cheaper than anywhere else. I don’t buy designer or very high end clothing and if its not Made in China, its probably Made in India or Bangladesh or Vietnam. Same thing, different countries.

    Personally I just look at how much I’m prepared to pay for something, and if I like it. If its skincare, it must be from a global brand. I don’t care as much where its made, so long as its well made – after all the much lauded iPhone is made in China too right? πŸ˜‰ The only thing I would feel is sorry for the workers who have to made these things and get pittance while the brands charge us the sky.
    Paris B recently posted..New: Revlon Colorburst Lip Butters Are In Town – Are you going to pick them up?My Profile

    1. Tine

      Paris B: It sucks to buy clothes in Australia. Aussie labels (high street ones, can’t afford the designer ones. A number of the latter are also made in China) are significantly more expensive in comparison to the international ones, and the quality isn’t even as good. I think that’s why I end up buying most of my clothes from Target because at least I don’t have to spend a lot of money on clothes that are made in China πŸ˜›

      For skincare, I suppose I wouldn’t knowingly buy products that are made in China (yep, snobbery is kicking in). I didn’t know that Hada Labo was made in China until I took mine out of the package. But you’re right, it didn’t do my skin any harm, and I do like a couple of the products πŸ™‚

  7. Dawn

    I can’t believe you decided to blog a post that is so controversial. Don’t you realize that there might be Chinese out there reading supporting your blog as well? Maybe you should walk a mile in their shoes before posting stuff like that up. To me it’s just disrespectful. To admit you’re a snob, bravo to that, but to bring in another humans culture and country into context you’re just being rude and disrespectful.

    You may argue this is a freedom of speech. But think about how much they workers in china are getting paid just to make your Coach bag and juicy couture stuff. And for crying out loud it’s not like you spend thousand dollars on it and the quality it’s not good. You got a mid grade item and expect high quality made in Italy?

    Be grateful for what you have regardless of where it’s from. I think everyone should have a sense of justice. You pay for what you get. And those people in china who made your So called expensive stuff only gets a dollar an hour.
    A snob? No I call you inhuman.

    1. Tine

      Dawn: Thanks for your comment. In hindsight I wasn’t clear with the intention of my post, which I should have been. My apologies for causing offence. I was writing as a consumer in Australia, as we often have to pay a premium for low-quality goods that are made in China. We don’t often get what we paid for. Many Aussie designer and high-street labels outsource their clothes to be made in China, but they charge consumers a lot of money for more than what they’re worth. It isn’t just apparel, but many other products too.

      I shall do an edit on the article and post an update.

    2. LeGeeque

      Something as controversial as this SHOULD be blogged. Most bloggers don’t have the guts to stand up and voice out what their thoughts are for fear of backlash. If only more journalists have the integrity to voice out.

      There’s also this other stream of thought: Refusing to buy Made in China products to make a stand and not support child slavery, underage employment, questionable work ethics.

      Also, name-calling (inhuman) is pretty unnecessary. I believe everyone’s entitled to their opinion no matter how different it may be. You’ve made it crystal clear you stand by your comment and it’s your right to do so.
      LeGeeque recently posted..Inglot Nail Polish 321My Profile

    3. Espy

      The whole article is so vanilla and PC she is barely saying anything. Ridiculous observation Dawn. She doesn’t want to pay premium for Made in China. No one does.

  8. Dawn

    I may have put it more bluntly than Paris B but I think I stand by her comment.

  9. Norlin

    Hmm…I get what you mean. You’re not saying that products made in China are bad. You’re saying why pay top dollar for products that cost less to make because they are made in China and the fact that the workers making it get next to nothing whilst the big brands – yes even brands like Country Road and the like, charge us an arm and a leg for it. I’m not necessarily a made-in-China snob, but if I’m looking to purchase a designer item that I have to pay through my nose for, I would expect it not to be from China. Not because the quality is any lesser, but because I know that the brand pays next to nothing to have it made there compared to if they were made in Italy or France. So if they (the brands) are saving money why aren’t we given that privilege too right?
    Norlin recently posted..Saturday Shopping: Some Tips About Shopping Online & Overseas Online Stores I’ve Shopped FromMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Norlin: You don’t know how much I appreciate your comment, Norlin. That’s exactly what I was trying to say. I obviously did not word my original post properly enough for that meaning to come across.

      People may not see Coach as a designer item (I’ve had comments from a few American readers many years ago, who laughed at me when I said that Coach was a designer item, because it’s sold so cheaply in the US. I was living in Malaysia back then, and to pay over RM1000 for a bag? Honey, that’s designer), but it’s still a lot of money for a bag, regardless of how people see it. That’s why I was disappointed to found out that hundreds of dollars went into something which I thought was made somewhere else, but actually made in China.

      I highly recommend the book link I posted – Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Lustre. It talks about how high end designer labels are outsourcing their goods to China to be made (e.g. Louis Vuitton), and what the working conditions of the Chinese are like. It’s outrageous.

  10. sesame

    Except for skincare, I don’t really care where the items are made. I believe more are made in China than we already know. If the quality is good and I like the brand, then it doesn’t matter. Funnily, I also don’t care about made in China food but was so surprised that many of my readers are particular about that one eg. dried fungus, etc. I’ve been eating many made in China food and it has never been quite an issue to me even with the negative publicity. But of course if it’s something like a new brand that I’ve never seen, perhaps I’ll consider more carefully.

    The economics have really changed and there is an apparent East-West swap. So made in China is not necessarily poor quality. Often with negative publicity, it can be orchestrated for a specific motive too.

    Having said that, I applause you for blogging this. There’s always room to agree to disagree in respectful manner when it comes to a controversial topic. I didn’t really see your post as China-bashing but more like rationalizing. Sometimes, our views can change when we express our thoughts in the open and we can learn from what we write and what others comment. Who knows? Perhaps your views towards made in China label will change with this?
    sesame recently posted..DIY Beauty: Himalaya rock salt scrub gift ideaMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Sesame: Love your comment, Sesame. It was something I’ve been mulling over for quite some time, because I wondered what other people thought of the issue. We’re all adults, we can have a difference in opinions respectfully πŸ™‚

      I was actually Googling something yesterday, and one of the search results led to a post you wrote in 2010, where you asked your readers if they cared where their skincare products were made. I was going through the comments, and it was very interesting to read what most of them thought about skincare products made in China.

      I do agree with you, I think negative publicity played a very big part in brainwashing most of us into thinking that products made in China are inferior. I wouldn’t say the same 10 years ago, but now, in 2012, with China growing ever so rapidly, perhaps they would start to be more stringent in the quality of their goods? One can only hope. I would like more than anything to have my mind and perception changed about the made in China label.

  11. Sara-May

    What a well thought out and well written, if somewhat controversial post. I don’t think I could express my views any more eloquently than Norlin, so I just say +1 to her comment.
    Congratulations for writing a post that struck a chord and got people thinking x
    Sara-May recently posted..Old Hollywood Face of the Day – Marlene DietrichMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Sara-May: Thanks Sara-May. I stepped out of my comfort zone for this, and expected whiplash, so it’s not too bad. I think it’s something a lot of people think about, but don’t really talk about it (at least, not on paper, not black & white). Norlin hit the nail on the head with her comment, because that was exactly what I meant.

  12. Jyoan

    I do look at the label, and I do feel better when I see that my Chanel, for example, is made in Italy, or made in France.

    But when I see Made in China, I will just go, “oh, okay, haha, so this branded brand also makes its products in China”.

    That is pretty much it. I don’t look before I buy. But I do have a tendency to check the labels after I buy. I am fine with skincare made in China too, as long as it’s good.
    Jyoan recently posted..LOTD – Look back into the 1960s during New Year!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Jyoan: Personally I don’t think I’d splash out $4000 on a Chanel if it was made in China πŸ˜›

      Taking Paris B’s comment into consideration, I think if it’s a global brand, highly recognised and raved, I think it should be all right regardless of where it’s made. It’s something that I still have to come to terms with πŸ™‚

      1. Jyoan

        haha. yes. I got your point on how your money gets earned by the company when I read (maybe you edited it by then, haha), and not the workers. It feels different when one buys FairTrade products, yet pay a bit of a premium, vs non-FairTrade products.

        One more example for this topic:
        I did have a bit of a gripe when I found the hemlines of my Adiddas ClimaCool T-shirt coming away after less than 10 washes. Considering how I really do like the T-shirt, and how it must be washed after every workout, hemlines tearing off so fast just isn’t what I paid S$50++ for.

        And yes, I do purposely and only buy Adiddas when it comes to thin sports clothes. So of course, I’d expect more out a half-a-100bucks T-shirt.

        I actually decided not to buy Nike because it is made in China, and I have too many friends telling me how their shoes do not last people who do daily runs, vs sports-focused sports brands like Asics. Nike is just like a fashion brand that reaps customers off, when their products are not fairtrade, made in China.
        Jyoan recently posted..LOTD – Look back into the 1960s during New Year!My Profile

  13. milktea

    If I had bought a Coach bag from their factory outlet at a cheaper price, I would not mind the made in China tag. If it came from their luxe outlet, I would not be so happy. On the other hand, when Americans buy luxe stuff, the tag probably would read “Made-in-Malaysia” lol πŸ˜‰

    1. Tine

      Milktea: HAHAHAHA I love your comment! You’re right, they would probably go “eeuuwww made in Malaysia”. I think it’s just me, but I don’t have any issues with products made in Malaysia (my husband does though, but that’s his issue). I think it’s also because the probability of it being produced in a sweatshop in Malaysia is lower than in China. It’s just my opinion, I don’t know all the facts πŸ™‚

  14. gio

    I don’t really care where a product is made, as long as the price is right. I want to pay for the quality and manufacture, not the label. I don’t have problems buying cheap things made in China, but I don’t think I’d buy expensive, high-end products made there simply because I know that the brand is making a fortune while paying their workers very little and that’s not fair. That’s just something I don’t wanna support.
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    1. Tine

      Gio: It isn’t something we should support, Gio. The book I recommended at the end of the post gives an insight into luxury brands, and how some of them outsource their very expensive leather goods to be manufactured in China. The Chinese get horrible pay, but consumers are charged a fortune for them. That’s not right.

      My issue with this (unfortunately, it was not clear in my original post, which I have edited and updated) is how we as consumers in Australia are affected. Aussie labels charge a premium for something that is substandard in quality and made in China, and it’s not right too.

  15. Jill Nolan

    I am NOT a China snob at all as I often source products that I want from China because I know that most products that I buy are really well made. I agree they are not paid well in China and one hopes that as the country grows so will the culture in this respect. Many of the bigger brands have outsourced to many countries for the low cost production to keep up the profits for their shareholders – shareholders want good returns for their investments – don’t you?
    One of the key things we pay for in the bigger brands is the BRAND name – not the ingredients it is the BRAND name that we are paying for….and naturally we expect that the brand name means the quality of the material used to create the product is good quality which if most often is.

    I think we need to acknowledge that with globalization,our demand for quality items at a price we can pay and profits for shareholders that China and places like India will play much greater roles in our consumer production. Aussie’s want such high wages that is would be impossible for many brands to be made here at a price that anyone would be WILLING to pay..key here is WILLING. I think we should buy what we want and so long as it works then be happy. Countries will evolve over time and wages will improve over time..along with cultures and we cannot control other countries cultures.

    Great topic and it has evoked good conversation..cheers Jill

    1. LeGeeque


      If this comment has a +1 option, you’re getting multiple +1s from me. Thanks for the insight and the perspective from the other side of consumerism.
      LeGeeque recently posted..Inglot Nail Polish 321My Profile

    2. Tine

      Jill: Great comment Jill! I love how you gave an insight to the other side of the story. I suppose it’s just like how I compare fine jewellery in Malaysia to Tiffany’s (for this, I’ll refer to Tiffany’s Malaysia). You can get beautiful, high quality gold and jewellery in local stores for significantly lower prices compared to Tiff’s for a very similar item. At the end of the day, it’s the brand we’re buying, the words Tiffany and Co stamped into the pieces.

      I do hope that wages will improve in China over time, and that their working environment will be significantly better than they are today. China’s growing incredibly rapidly, and it shouldn’t be long before they start implementing strict quality control in their products for export to developed countries.

      1. Jyoan

        haha, they should impose stricter quality control. Over here, we already label China-brand OR China-made phones (including iPhones) as exploding devices.

        Almost nobody wants to buy a China brand because almost everyone discourages everyone else that it may explode in your ears/face. It’s very scary.

        We only buy from those brands that have a good enough history of not exploding, and believe that they have enough quality control.

        Yes, the labeling is quite sad, but inevitable since no one wants to get an explosive.
        Jyoan recently posted..LOTD – Look back into the 1960s during New Year!My Profile

        1. Tine

          Jyoan: A notorious problem with China-made products is that, while they’re cheap, many of them are not built to last. My father has purchased a couple of mobile phones from China, top-of-the-range at the time (before the iPhone was out), but it lasted less than a year before it literally fell apart. I’m just glad it stopped working rather than exploding in his face >.<

  16. Jyoan

    I think one of the things about Made In China is that, it isn’t that good. It really isn’t. Not, especially when in Singapore, we get tonnes of Japan Made and Europe Made products, and so we are exposed enough to compare.

    Butbutbut, most of us Singaporeans do believe in the notion that we get what we pay for. So we are actually fine living with 90% or more China-made products, since the cost of living is already so high here, and we do need and accept things in the market that are cheap and good enough. The idea is, good, ENOUGH.

    So when I sometimes decide to splurge and get a branded made in Europe/Japan, I can really rave about it, because the difference is screaming at me. haha.

    Hope I didn’t post an out of topic comment, wasting your space. =P
    Jyoan recently posted..LOTD – Look back into the 1960s during New Year!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Jyoan: No no, not wasting my space. That’s what the comment space is for, so make use of it! πŸ˜›

      I like how you use the word “enough”. I think that’s my take on MiC products as well. Things aren’t cheap in Australia either, so we have no choice. But as long as they’re good enough, I guess we can’t complain πŸ™‚

  17. Isabel

    First of all, I would like to applaud you for having the courage to put out there a piece which is highly likely to garner criticism (constructive or otherwise). It not only provokes thought but provides a forum for discussion. Who says beautyholics are superficial people yeah? πŸ˜‰

    Next, I want to hold my hand up and admit that whenever I see a label that says “Made In China”, my initial reaction is always “Ugh!” and I want to beat a quick retreat. However, I want to also say that these days, I make a conscious effort to re-evaluate that spontaneous reaction and ponder on why I might still want the product despite that it is made in China. Sure, there are a great many horror stories about made in China products (the tainted milk powder scandal is one that isn’t easily forgotten, for example) but at the same time, I think we need to realise that large, well-known brands that outsource production to countries with cheaper labour costs (not on China) would impose strict quality controls it is very unlikely that they would do something to compromise their brand name. One such example is Hada Labo where an establish company as Mentholatum would probably have adequate, if not strict, quality controls. So ultimately, it becomes an issue of thinking before one purchases rather than applying a single standard across the board and dismissing Made in China products with one sweep of the hand.

    I also totally get your point that the beef is with these big corporations making huge profits by outsourcing their production in order to lower their costs but selling it at top prices to consumers. But ultimately, this is an issue that I think related to supply and demand. As long as there is demand for branded product regardless of where and under what conditions they are produced, then the brand companies will continue churning them out. And if there are people willing to pay that price, what can the rest of us do except to put our money where the mouth is and not purchase their products? I personally don’t buy good merely or even mainly because of their brand name because I’m quite aware that a large chunk of what we pay for is the name and I am quite opposed to paying them to do advertisement for them! That said, we can’t escape the fact that there is another reason for high prices for branded goods – quality. So again, it becomes a matter of being flexible and discriminate when evaluating each product. There should not be a single standard. In today’s world where corporate greed is so apparent and even proudly flaunted, I would very much love to support local/independent designers or brands not only as a way to flip the bird (if I may be permitted to say that!) to greedy corporations but also to encourage individual creativity which I honestly think is in a downwards spiral in modern society. Sadly, the prices of items by indie designers are not always affordable … and I do know that it is an uphill challenge for them as well.

    And just to make it clear, my discrimination against Made in China products have nothing to do with anything lacking on the part of the Chinese workers but everything to do with that large corporations seek more bang for their buck by choosing countries with weak protection laws so that they can pay as low as they can, make the workers work as long as they can thus resulting in inferior quality materials.

    I suppose that at the end of the day, we as consumers should make an effort to support those who practise good corporate responsibility where we can but bear it mind that it is a capitalist world we live in. The other thing we could be more mindful of is to create awareness where we can because in this information age, it is amazing what the power of the people can produce and people can only come together to produce that people power when there is information disseminated. One good example is the current H&M controversy (easily found via google). So I shall end this loooong comment by reiterating that this is an excellent post and I hope you continue to post such “controversial” ones in the future.

    1. Tine

      Isabel: Oh believe me, it wasn’t an easy topic to write about. It’s easy enough to shoot off my mouth because it’s been festering in my mind for quite some time now, so yeah, one’s got to be ready for repercussions. That’s what you get with controversial pieces πŸ˜›

      You’re right, I think it would be irresponsible to dismiss ALL brands that outsource their products to be manufactured in China. Surely the bigger ones would have strict quality control (and I hope, a better working environment) over their goods for export than local brands that run sweatshops.

      Love your comment, Isabel πŸ™‚

  18. Stephanie/Yukaeshi

    I do agree with you that if we’re going to pay a premium, we might as pay for “premium labour” too. But sometimes the “premium price” we pay is also for other things, e.g. branding, marketing and IMO, especially for clothes, quality control. Cheap night market clothes made in China and more high street/branded clothes made in China do have a huge difference based on my experience, even if you can find “replicas” or “imitations” of the design or cut.

    Other things e.g. skincare products and electronic items, if made in China, do inspire a bit of doubt in me though, which is only alleviated slightly by the brand. If it’s a really reputable brand I’m more assured than if it’s not.
    Stephanie/Yukaeshi recently posted..Sunday Tip #7My Profile

    1. Tine

      Stephanie: My beef is more with what Aussie consumers have to put up with, in terms of having to pay a lot of money for something that is clearly “pasar malam” material. And or the good quality ones that are made in China, I guess it’s more “geez, I’m paying $400 for an Alannah Hill that’s made in China?!” than anything else. Just the thought of that alone puts many of us off, regardless of how good the quality is.

      For skincare, I think the brand would really have to be good and well-known in order to inspire confidence in consumers. That’s how I would knowingly buy their products anyway πŸ™‚

  19. Raylene Barton

    I totally got the content of your blog. The “made in China” quality can be variable though. I definitely think that if an Australian brand is made in china the price should reflect the quality. I would say that high quality brands would defintely have quality control procedures in place. Great blog post πŸ™‚

    1. Tine

      Raylene: Thanks Raylene. I agree, the price should reflect the quality. If the quality is good, the price is reasonable, then I wouldn’t have a problem buying made in China products here. I guess with more international brands coming in which sell their products cheaper than Aussie brands, it’s getting exceedingly difficult supporting Aussie brands, when the international ones have a lot of products with better quality. It’s a catch-22.

      1. Raylene Barton

        Yes and alot of aussie brands are low quality!!

  20. Aileen Agan

    Absolutely concur with everything you wrote and I tell everyone the same thing too! This is the exact reason why I do not see the point in splurging in expensive items just for the brand name sake anymore because chances are, you are paying 80% for the brand name rather than product. I want to pay for value – not the brand!

    1. Tine

      Aileen: I know what you mean. That’s why I consider items from, e.g. Tiffany and Co, splurge items and only do it seldom because the actual value of the item wouldn’t be worth that much of money if it doesn’t bear that name.

  21. Thurisaz Sala'il

    I’m part of the poorest parts of society in the US. I can’t afford to purchase designer anything, unless I find it dirt-cheap in a thrift store. Made in China is inescapable. However, I do know the value of fair labour and wage practices! It’s something we battle even in America.

    I believe that if I’m going to pay a premium price, there should be good workmanship and good pay for the manufacturer involved. By ‘manufacturer’, I mean the person who ACTUALLY MADE THE THING, not the label’s owner. So, if Chie made that dress, she should be receiving a good portion of the benefits posted from selling that dress under a designer label in another country. She should not be working 20 hour days, 7 days a week, in a dark factory somewhere that pays her $10USD a month. Share the profits evenly!

    The jewellery I sell is expensive, but you know what? I personally craft it by hand from quality materials, and I use fair-trade, artisan harvested and dyed seeds and woods from Bolivia. Those seeds are not cheap, and that’s fine with me- because they live in a country where an expired, non-counterfeit Advil can cost up to $9 USD, EACH. I’m happy to pay a fair wage for their work. I sure as hell don’t want to spend 14 hours a day picking, soaking, and drilling potentially poisonous seeds. I turn those beads into finished jewellery here in the US. They should get their fair share of the profit that I see. Sustainable wages are the only way to go!
    Thurisaz Sala’il recently posted..Happy Birthday!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Thurisaz: I couldn’t agree more Thurisaz. Fair labour and wages are a battle here in Australia too. A lot of Australians demand higher and fair wages, which the brand cannot supply, thus those jobs are axed and the products are outsourced to China to be manufactured.

  22. Annabella Freeman

    I find it really frustrating when brands like Coach are made in China. They are selling you an image of it being American made but it isn’t. The same goes for things like Doc Marten boots that used to proudly say ‘Made in England’ but now they too are made in China. I don’t have a problem with goods made in China but if a brand claims to be made or has the image of a certain place I expect it to be made there.
    Annabella Freeman recently posted..Annabella’s review – Japonesque Callus ShaverMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Annabella: That was what I expected to, and that’s why I was a tad disappointed to find out otherwise. Then again, I used to think GAP was made in the US until I found out years ago that their apparel is made all over the world!

  23. elle

    i dont mind high labels coming from china BUT i always wonder, since its cheaper to made in china for these corporations, why dont they lower the price for consumers? or why dont these corporations return the huge profit margins (on items made in china) TO the china labour?

    if a company have 2 factories (one in USA and one in China) manufacturing the same thing, why not have 2 different price and leave the choice for us consumers to choose..i think thats only fair and right
    elle recently posted..Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2012!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Elle: At the end of the day, the brands have only one thing in mind – their doggone bottom line. It’s frustrating enough that consumers hardly get any passed on savings, but to think that they pocket it rather than pay the Chinese labour accordingly is downright infuriating.

  24. Swati

    these days practically all the products are china made whether electronics or luxuries and yes, I am to an extent a snob in that way but I can’t avoid it πŸ™‚ and, regarding the labour payment, its always a mere pittance when it comes to using labour from so-called third-world countries which is something I don’t appreciate. but, yes, sometimes, I do wonder about the quality, especially when it comes to electronics.
    Swati recently posted..Foundation / Tinted Mositurizer – Blending Basics {Skin Care}My Profile

  25. Maria V @CrashingRed

    Can’t believe someone found this post offensive πŸ™‚

    Well, I’m not a China snob. Surprise! Surprise! If it’s a good quality – why not?
    Maria V @CrashingRed recently posted..How to dress glamorous while keeping your spending to minimum: Part 1My Profile

    1. Tine

      Maria: Haha good for you Maria πŸ˜‰

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