Made in China

Australia- Singapore, 7th March 2010

Travelled back to Singapore today… as usual time for some reflection, catching up on some news and work during the flight. There is a big debate going on in Australia about the difference between a product Made in Australia or a Product of Australia. In the first case all components and ingredients are from Australian soil, in the second case packaging, assembling or manufacturing are done in Australia but components and ingredients may well be imported from overseas. In order to support the local economy, origin and ownership (“Australian owned”) are all used in marketing in the same spirit as people are urged to buy “natural, organic or green” products. Where am I going with this?

In lighting we have the same thing happening. “Made in China” is sort of synonymous for fixtures that are cheap and locally made or even copied. Country of origin over the years has always had a quality label attached to it. China, Taiwan, Korea versus Germany, Italy or France in Europe, etc. I remember that in my Philips days clients would insist to have “made in Holland” lamps rather than Philips lamps “made in Thailand” for instance. Of course it is just a sticker or printed or screened label on the product… 🙂

The point is that more and more “Made in China” does not necessarily mean a bad quality anymore, on the contrary. Many of the top European lighting manufacturers have set up manufacturing facilities in China, some already for many years. I have visit several of them and the majority of the plants operate with imported machinery and are quality tested according to European standards. Even paint powders and spray machines are from Europe. In fact most of the products that are “Made in China” are exported back to Europe… some not necessarily carrying the “made in China” sticker!

“Product of Germany” still somehow sounds better than “Made in China”. But reversely “Made in China” now is becoming much more attractive (or should I say acceptable) to most developers than “Product of Germany”!

07. March 2010 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: lighting and the economy | Leave a comment

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