China has consistently strived to stamp its brand every corner of the world. Today brand China is truly universal. With the ruthless one party political system controlling the vast land without any noise, Chinese skills are global folklore today. Its economy is the second largest next to failing America. Military superiority is well-known. In the foreign policy matters, Chinese qualify highest marks. The just concluded Beijing Olympics demonstrated the sport prowess of China. Not only it walked away with the highest gold medal grabber’s honour but also organized it to everyone’s fascination. China also battled against the very powerful Tibet lobby and others in the run up to Olympics 2008. Successfully it thwarted all attempts to scuttle it.
In this euphoric moment of China’s growth it is also dumped for its duplicity in manufacturing consumer products and global positioning as the emerging superpower. One may dismiss it as nothing new against any emerging power. England was accused of colonial highhandedness, Americans for foxy diplomacy, French for explicit display of armed strength, Russia for false political revolution, Dutch for navigational acumen and Portuguese for spice trade. Most of these powers succumbed to the local and external propagandas and got defeated in their mission. America and Russia engaged in two sided battle for nearly half a century. Soon after the collapse of Soviet Union, America is ruling the word with the status of single superpower.
The super power project of China has started in the mid nineties. With the exit of elderly communist leaders and emergence of pragmatic ones like Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao this mission got widened. Today it looks totally feasible in the next five to ten years. China as one of the longest surviving civilizations was in the global command once upon a time. When time passed it become stagnated without any reforms. The onset of communism complicated the strong traditional systems. Cultural Revolution tried to untangle the knot with some success.
In the urge to make China shine as the super power, it leaders adopted a short cut. Chinese food, movies, consumer durables and other name spreading products are present every corner of the world. Naturally it created a forward push for China’s super power status. But quality is missing in these products. Universally there is a sense of suspicion against the Chinese products.
Contamination of baby foods, milk products and chochalates with toxic melamine in China is solidifying the global suspicion. Most of the consumer giants have outsourced their manufacturing to Chinese companies. To make quick bucks and deliver on time, quality is compromised severely. Toys, electronic goods, food products, household items and all other China manufactured products are teething with serious quality problems.
The popular fear about any Chinese product is its inferiority. Yet the mad rush towards Chinese goods is due to its rock bottom prices. The Third World countries are the biggest victim to Chinese inferior products. For the developed world, Chinese are little careful to upgrade the quality. This was evident from a conference bag distributed by the University of British Columbia in Canada. Looking at its quality one attendee praised the quality product of Canada. When he saw the Made in China tag at the bottom of the bag he was shocked. To his query, the organizer said “We gave the material and they stiched according to our guidelines”. Only the work was done in China. Lower labour costs and ambitious government are conquering the global markets. But any compromise on the quality of manufactured products or unethical methods in the pursuit of super power ambitions will ruin China in the long run. Lessons from the Western world should remind the fall of short cuts.