China's Economy and China's Living Conditions Don't Match Up

Posted by jeckert on 02/16/2011

China manufactures many first world conveniences.  For example, the iPhone, iPad, iPod etc. But anyone who has been to China will more than likely tell you that living conditions there don't match up to the high-tech, "luxury" products they export.

Take Karl Pilkington of "An Idiot Abroad," a show on the Science Channel where a comedian (Rickey Gervais) sends his "idiot" friend Karl to different countries to see his blunt, hilarious reactions to other cultures.

Karl had this to say about his experiences in China:

I didn't think it was going to be like this.  I thought it was where they made the iPod.  I think I have the wrong place because this isn't a place where they need an iPod.  I think they need a toilet roll first.  I think it's weird because whenever you buy stuff it says Made in China.  I think they would be using it here first.

On a blog, Evolving Excellence, Bill Waddell posts about Karl's adventures, and the deeper meaning behind his reaction to Chinese culture.  The fact that the majority of Chinese citizens live in these "wretched" conditions, coupled with the fact that many who used to sing the praises of outsourcing to China, are silent as China's unstable, teetering economy is struggling with currency issues and inflation:

It seems to me - keeping in mind that I may well be an idiot - that there is a golden opportunity for western manufacturers to get back in the game in a big way.  The customers who dumped you for China or India, and the potential customers who wouldn't let you in the door are in a little bit of trouble.  They are paying a price and don't know what to do about it.  It is only going to get worse for them.  I have visited four companies in the last week or so and every one of them is increasing their business, closing sales that a few years ago would have gone to Chinese suppliers.  Lean manufacturers are sitting on the verge of a tremendous boom. 

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