Walk down the aisles of most major retailers and you can see the result of Chinese exports. In nearly every department, products carry labels that say made in China. The combination of low wages for workers and technology investment from foreign companies make China the world’s third largest exporter behind the U.S. and Germany.
Chinese export products represent much of the goods sold in the world’s mega retail outlets. Products in every category from shoes to high tech electronics are now produced in Chinese factories for export.
In 1979 the Chinese government took steps to fix its crumbling economy. Reforms were proposed that encouraged agriculture and light industry by decentralizing operations and creating incentives for productivity. Later on foreign investors were welcomed and technology for manufacturing goods improved dramatically.
According to Fiber, the Online Journal of the International Fashion and Apparel Industry, China is the world’s largest apparel exporter. Since 1994, market share for China-sourced apparel and accessories increased to 30 percent of the global market.
Mattel and other toy companies use Chinese manufacturing to produce their toys. In the case of Mattel this accounts for about 65 percent of its products. Low manufacturing costs lead toy retailers to buy China-sourced toys but these low costs create problems as well.
In 2007, Mattel recalled millions of toys made in China and carrying the Mattel trademark because the toys posed health risks to children. Lead paint and choking risk from small parts led to the product recalls. According to Professor David Strutton of North Texas University, Chinese manufacturers cut corners to keep production costs down. Toy retail companies such as Mattel must test the products to ensure they are safe and use tighter quality controls at Chinese vendor factories.
Investment and outsourcing by Western companies is a leading factor in Chinese electronics exports. According to China’s Trade with the United States and the World, a report prepared for Congress by the Congressional Research Service, the top two categories of Chinese exports to the U.S. are office machines and telecommunications equipment.
The report further breaks these categories down to reveal that they include computers, computer hardware and television sets. China is now the largest supplier of these goods to the United States. So many Chinese made televisions are being imported into the United States and Europe that governments have enacted anti-dumping measures to prevent the market from being flooded with low-cost Chinese electronics products.