World factory China

Hi all,
My spoken english teacher who come from the Australia said:Western countries like Australia take advantage of China to produce products cheaply (cheaper wages, and manufacturing costs etc. in China), which contributes to the pollution, low wages and poor living standards for Chinese workers. I’m not exaggerating if I say that 85% of everything we buy in our stores is made in China!

So what’s the percentage of “made in china” in your country?Do you think it is possible to change the current bad status?

That the majority of chinese people are living in very poor conditions(poor housing conditions,poor working conditions,poor wages conditions etc) and also caused environmental abuse.But seems we have to work for the low wage and play the role as a worker in this world factory.

嗚呼,哀哉…it sounds like i always complain about my GREAT country.


I can’t estimate how much in US stores is made in China, but in many of them it could be up to 85%. However, since there have been many famous cases of China exporting dangerous and even fatal products to North and South America (for example poisonous toothpaste that killed people in Central America, dog food that murdered people’s dogs, toys containing dangerous chemicals or parts that are small enough for little children to choke on), some companies have found that they can attract more customers by advertising that none of their products come from China.

You teacher needs an education in economics. Wages in China are low, but increased business and economic activity have contributed to an INCREASE in wages, so it helps improve people’s condition. Just think how much worse things were before the world sent so much manufacturing business to China!

Besides, when countries start exporting so much, it brings more pressure on them to become good world citizens. Eventually China will start cleaning up its pollution and make other improvements. They’re early in the cycle right now.

Here is a good article on how “low-wage” jobs from abroad help the people in various countries:

Third World Sweatshops: Why Cambodian Workers Bribe for ‘Sweatshop’ Jobs
by Thomas Sowell

I think the words “take advantage of China” is wrong, I think Jamie K said it well, its economics and it usually helps both countries, because of the “taking advantage of China” China has been able to greatly increase its economy and peoples standard of living.

But personally I believe that China is headed for a rude awakening for a long list of reasons, political instability that will follow a growing middleclass and the first true recession of economic downward trend, terrible reputation of Chinese products, complete lack of concern for the local environment, the generation of “little emperors” coming of age and most importantly Demographics, the great equalizer, China’s prefference for boys and its one child policy will bite itself in the ass in the next 10-15 years. I would add a couple of more but you get the picture. Note, many of these can be changed but the general impression that GREAT China will take of as an economic superpower is wrong, I would argue the opposite

Around 1980, it was widely believed in the United States that Japan was going to take over the world economy and throw us all into economic depression. “All the jobs” would go to Japan, and the whole Western world would be in turmoil. This never happened, because Japan’s growth ended up in a huge recession, AND the Western countries adapted to the situation and found better, more productive ways to produce things. At the same time, countries like Korea and Taiwan were taking away some of Japan’s labor cost advantage. (Sorry, Edwin, but although Taiwan was part of China for a while, it is an independent country with its own sovereignty rights.) This is already happening to China, as countries like Bangladesh are offering cheaper labor. Many products that, for a while, were made in China are now arriving in American stores with labels that say “Made in Cambodia” or “Made in Bangladesh”.

Besides the things Boke mentioned, various factors that I imagine will cause problems for China are:

  1. Weak rule of law and weak property rights. If someone in China wants to counterfeit your product – even a whole car – you can try to sue in court, but if the party committing the crime is Chinese and you are not, it’s likely that your economic and property rights will not be protected. China still has an “us versus them” mentality in its justice system. Furthermore, if a person has enough power and wants to take your business away, he can just take it, sometimes having you arrested to make the grab easier. India, even with all its problems, has a stronger legal system and more human and economic rights for individuals and companies alike. This will make it desirable to do more business with India than with China.

  2. The party’s insistence on total ideological control. Even as they lead a capitalist boom, the Communist Party of China is not allowing freedom of speech or religion. At the same time, large numbers of its most successful people are finding big spiritual holes in their lives that neither communist ideology nor money helps them fill. Large numbers of these people are converting to some form of Christianity or some other religion. From what I read, the government’s ability to arrest religious people isn’t keeping pace with the number of people who are converting.

  3. Total disregard for human rights. It’s well known that many of the products imported from China are completely or partly made by political prisoners, and that some factories are actually prisons. It’s also known that in places like Sudan, genocides are occurring partly to clear land for oil fields that will supply China. Ultimately this kind of thing will work to China’s disadvantage.

  4. Lack of well-educated people. China gives a higher education to only about 3% of its population. In China, that’s a huge number of people, but it’s probably not enough to sustain growth.

Hi Jamie(K),
It’s okay,you should not say ‘sorry’ to me,although i’m a chinese but i do not care about it.As you may know that on 2nd Sep 1945,a mandamus which issued by the generalissimo (MacArthur) of allied forces was like:The senior Japanese commanders and all ground, sea, air and auxiliary forces within China (excluding Manchuria), Formosa and French Indo-China north of 16 north latitude shall surrender to generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.

There it mentioned ‘Chiang Kai-shek’ who was the president of R.O.C,but NOT Mr.Mao.

As for the other things you’ve listed,i think they all much like “factual report”,anyway,i hope the China situation could be improved one day,and hope our R&H party could also do some substantive motions to our chinese people.


there’s an example of this world factory china effect.

in canada, lots of small fishes are unwanted by canadians. some smart business men buy all the unwanted fishes and ship them to china where they process and pack them into fish cans. and then they ship them back to canada, and to elsewhere all over the world.

of course these business men make big money. but it causes problems:

  1. more shipping means more energy consumption.
  2. job opportunities lose to china.

indeed, there are a lot of similar examples in many other countries. and those countries are now becoming aware of the problems (mostly economy wise).
so, will they let their business opportunities slipped away that easily any more?
i think not!

then this is gonna create a protential problem for china.
because the fast-growing china is depending on the manufacturing jobs greatly. if china lose those jobs, she will be affected greatly.

Hi Edwin,

Your teacher was referring to physical products and as this thread shows, a lot of tangible goods are produced in China and other Asian countries where labor is cheap.

However, what your teacher is missing is the fact that in addition to physical products there are a huge number of intangible products that are exclusively made in the US or other western countries. I’m sure you know kind of products I have in mind?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, question-response: How many sick days do we get each year?[YSaerTTEW443543]

Here’s a good article on the whole thing: … prosperity

Hai Edwin, refer back to your first post, up to some point of view I agree with what teacher said. However, he forgot about some fact. The china has earned their major income form exporting the “cheap stuffs”. In addition, if you could have the comparison of the poverty data of china between and after the export booming. Perhaps it will be obvious that it bring the better live for china citizens.

In Indonesia, there are a lot of china products; however it is not as much as 85% of the product. In most of the case, the reason is Indonesia also produce cheap products.
In addition, just little complain here, most of the china products are not long lasting. Perhaps it cause by the low quality check in Indonesia “ Import gates”.

Anyway, I pretty agree with Torsten that other western countries produce a lot of intangible product.


Actually, there are a lot of Chinese goods in 100 yen shops in Japan. A lot of foreigners like this shop. I never had ‘problem’ using any of the stuffs I bought there. They are cheap so I don’t expect them to last forever. If they fail me I just throw them away!

Hi Herry,yeh it’s right that some factory owners did earn income from exporting goods,but almost workers just earned low wage.So i’m just afraid that if someday the exchange rate between china yuan(rmb) and foreign currencies go unfirm,then i think many exporters in china are unable to do foreign trading,if so people who works at those factories will lose his job immediately,that’s terrible.

Hi Nina,How much is 100 japanese yen if change to US$?around 0.8 US$?
If so,i’m not exaggerating if i say 100 yen shops in Japan are still high profit.Anyway,would you plz tell me which kind of chinese product you could buy from 100 yen shops?


It’s not that the world wants to take advantage of the cheap labors in China. It’s our government is doing whatever they can to keep the exchange rate low (this is different than our real wage) so our products end up being the cheapest in the global market. They are doing it to boast our GDP figures so that the western media, particularly US media, would give us a few positive coverage in addition to the “crisis” “disaster” “human rights issues” they traditionally value (or are taught to value in journalism classes) when reporting on foreign countries. It also helps control unemployment rate considering how overpopulated this country is. If our exports are cut in half now, think about how many people will go unemployed the next day and what kind of economic res session we will have to deal with for the next decade?

Low wage is mostly due to the set exchange rate. Though unskilled workers get paid a lot less in terms of say US dollars than unskilled workers in say the US, the cost of living in China is a lot lower than the cost of living in the US as well. You should really look at what percentage of the average worker’s wage is spent on food/bills/rent before you call it a “poor wage”.

Last but not least, the real wage is determined by the demand and supply. The reason wage is low is because of the population. There are simply not enough job supplies than demands. Simply raising the real wage will cut down supplies and make more people lose their jobs. Same as stop exporting.

Okay,i got it,in other words we could simply say it like all we chinese need to do is to make cheap products and export them to foreign markets at low pricing and we chinese people import high grade products from other countries at high price,am i right?

But when you’re shopping in a china supermart,if you pay a little attention to some of the imported product which also made in developing countries like Philippines,Thailand etc you will also find that the pricing are quite high (i supposed the reason is:high shipping cost and high tax caused high price).But why did not tax and freight make china-made product to be of high price in foreign markets?


The question is how long has China been “the world’s factory”? I remember a few years ago the vast majority of electronic devices used to be made in Taiwan. Now it seems that the Taiwanese companies have moved their manufacturing to mainland China. Who knows, maybe those factories will soon be moved to other Asian or even African countries.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, question-response: How much time do we have before the presentation?[YSaerTTEW443543]

I think it’s around 0.8 to 0.9 now and I don’t think you should compare it that way. If you ask me, cheaper currency can work for you, or work against you, like a double edged sword. If your currency is cheaper (is this the correct term?) I suppose it will encourage more export but it can also make import harder. But if you look at UK’s economy, although they have very expensive currency, their economy is strong, meaning businesses there make profit. So we’ll never know how it mysteriously works!

Anyway, you can expect to buy almost anything or gadgets that can make your daily life easier at a 100 yen shop, cooking utensils, stationaries, make-ups, earrings anything.