Home » General » There’s Room for Improvement On Chinese Products

China is undoubtedly the fastest-growing economy in the world, with the Chinese factor affecting the entire globe in one way or the other.

Reports indicate that the Asian giant is set to become the world’s biggest economy, toppling the United States for the spot.

It is expected to account for 28 percent of global Gross Domestic Product by 2030.

Who would not want to associate with such success for a country that was considered primitive not long ago.

Its transformational policies had indeed paid off. I salute the giant.

Although China has received accolades in most aspects, in others – particularly on the African continent – Chinese businesspersons are considered aggressive but unscrupulous in some respects.

Is that a fact? It depends on one’s standpoint.

In Zimbabwe generally, the bulk of Chinese products are seen as sub-standard, consumed by desperate people at the low-end of the market.

Their choice is determined by what is in their pocket with scant regard to quality. They may not have that luxury and understandably so.

The dollar seems elusive to many, particularly in that bracket.

But should that justify the influx and subsequent consumption of second-grade products?

In my experience with the Chinese, I have noted that the country produces for all markets, from high-end to the lowest and what they bring depends on their assessment of that market.

I had the opportunity to interact with the Chinese Minister of Industry and Trade in 2010 who, when I asked him why his country brought cheap stuff to Africa and yet it also produces the best quality you can ever find, simply replied: “We give the market what it wants.

“If you want something for a dollar, we will give it to you, if you want a high quality product we will supply.”

True that.

But should the perception that African consumers need cheap stuff drive their ethos?

To what extent do the Chinese appreciate and value their customers. Operating thousands and thousands of miles away from home, we are the people who keep them in business so to speak.

While we admit that business is not about charity, one should not profiteer to the detriment of the very customers that sustain them in business.

There is a need to improve standards so that there is value for money, no matter how little even one dollar has immense value.

For instance, some of the products such as shoes, kitchenware or stationery do not last a week, which effectively becomes more expensive at the end of the day.

Of course some of the products do last longer but generally they are not durable. In such circumstances we would expect Chinese exporters to be a bit more sensitive to the market they deal with.

I hear consumers in South Africa, Zambia, Kenya and the majority of African markets complaining about the sub-standard products that have taken their markets by storm.

In most instances I find myself hard-pressed to convince many that China produces world-class stuff, given what they are exposed to in local Chinese shops. This notion needs to be diffused through importation of better quality produce at reasonable prices.

Being financially-challenged does not necessarily imply that one should settle for sub-standard products and services. Consumers at the end of the market have their rights too which need to be observed.

I am fully cognisant that China has First world and Third World product lines.

While naturally I would expect those for the Third World to be inferior, some of the products that find their way onto our markets are nothing short of scandalous.

I can almost hear protestations from a section arguing open market forces but there should be consideration for the very market they serve.

The US dollar that we have been using since 2009 has universal value, which should translate to equally valuable products. Customer service dictates that one must empathise with one’s customer.

Zimbabweans have also proved to be too gullible not just for the low quality products from China but for elsewhere on the globe. And yet is within their means to boycott such products.

I have had the privilege of going to China and I liked what I saw. The work ethic and commitment to productivity is second to none.

Small wonder China is a real giant that has shaken the global trade in an undeniable manner.

There is, therefore, in my considered view, room for massive improvement on products coming out of China, destined for Africa in particular.

Chinese investment in this country is gladly welcome while relations between the two countries are cordial and prospects for even greater symbiotic relationships are set for even greater growth.

China has stood as Zimbabwe’s all-weather friend on the political, social and economic fronts.

Zimbabwe would be poorer without its brotherly hand.

In God I trust.

Source : The Herald

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