Chinese Tourists Flock to Japan to Purchase Japanese Goods

Bringing a spirit of "buy, buy, buy" to Japan, Chinese tourists on Japanese are often accompanied with shopping bags of various sizes.

Bringing a spirit of “buy, buy, buy” to Japan, Chinese tourists on Japanese streets are often accompanied with shopping bags of various sizes.

From NetEase:

Chinese Man Spends 200k to Buy Goods in Japan, Uses Shipping Container to Transport Them to China

“Why are so many people vacationing in Japan, my friend’s circle has become a circle Japanese tourism circle!” City resident Miss Chen’s biggest lamentation after the Spring Festival was: so many people going to Japan for vacation. This reporter learned that a lot of Chinese tourists headed to Japan this Spring Festival, and brought with them the spirit of “buy, buy, buy!”

According to a local Japanese television program, over the 10 days of Spring Festival, as many as 450k Chinese tourists went to Japan and spent nearly 6 billion RMB in shopping, ranging from thermos cups to luxury handbags, with the shelves of many shopping malls cleaned out.

Including purchase, shipping, and customs tariffs, spending 200k to ship back a “home”

“I was stunned at the time. I thought I would be collecting a package for him, but it turned out to be a small shipping container,” exclaimed white-collar Xu Dong (pseudonym) yesterday while talking about recently helping a friend collect the “fruits” of the mass purchases he shipped back from Japan. He told this reporter that this friend had asked him to help him by going to receive a shipment at Pudong International Airport, with the cargo being household appliances the friend had purchased in Japan throughout the Chinese New Year holiday.

He believes the price is still cheaper than purchasing domestically, and has more confidence in the quality.

It was only when Xu Dong arrived that he realized he was completely unprepared, because he would need a small cargo truck or van to transport the goods back, the merchandise having filled an entire small shipping container. “The container is probably used specifically for air freight, about 1.5 meters in height and width. I was stupefied,” he said recollecting. He no longer remembers the exact number of goods, but there were probably three television sets, two to three air conditioners, several speaker sets, as well as a refrigerator and some kitchen and bathroom appliances. “It also included the toilet seats that have been widely talked about these past few days, as well as air purifiers, etc.”

Xu Dong explained: “His friend has purchased a home and is furnishing it, and most of what he bought this time is for furnishing.” He continued that the goods shipped in this container were mostly household electrical appliances and fixtures. Xu Dong says using a shipping container was necessary, because there simply was too much cargo that could not be checked in as ordinary baggage. He told this reporter that using a shipping container of such a size required finding a shipping agent, that the cargo would have to go through import customs, and in addition to paying handling fees and freight fees, there was also a tariff of no small amount. “Just the handling fees and freight fees for this cargo cost 15k yuan.” Xu Dong says the cargo itself cost over 100k yuan, but adding in shipping expenses and customs duties, the total probably approaches 200k yuan. However, this friend still believes it was worth it, first for having saved money bypassing middlemen, the price still being cheaper than purchasing domestically, and he believes the quality of products purchased in Japan is more assured.

This reporter consulted two shipping agents yesterday and discovered they both provide air freight or sea freight services from Japan. “For us, it’s basically combining separate cargo into one shipment back to China, to pass through customs together,” said an employee. As it is understood, the air freight shipping containers most commonly used is the AKE container, sized at 156cm x 154cm x 163cm, with a capacity of 3.5 cubic meters and hold 1588 kg worth of goods, enough to accommodate the shipping needs for an individual’s large number of merchandise. However, this kind of service is not normally provided to individuals, as individuals normally go through shipping agents to have their cargo combined into one shipment before entering the importation process.

What Chinese tourists are clamoring to buy: thermos mugs, ceramic knives, toilet seats, and rice cookers.

Separately, Shanghai city resident Mr. Liu also took his family to Japan for Spring Festival, and even yesterday he was still battling in Tokyo’s Akihabara shopping mall. There, Mr. Liu saw that what Chinese tourists were clamoring to buy the most were Japan’s “Four Great Treasures”: thermos cups, ceramic knives, toilet seats, and rice cookers. He even compared prices and concluded that the price of Japanese goods sold in Japan was still nearly 1/3 cheaper than their prices domestically in China, with high-end products being particularly cheaper. For example, the final price for Tiger’s latest Goat Thermos Children’s Cup is approximately 356 yuan RMB in Japan, but is nearly 2x more expensive on Taobao at 680 yuan.


Japanese Yen devaluing and relaxed visa policies, release of shopping demand during Spring Festival

How was it calculated that there were 450k Chinese tourists? This is based on our country’s official figures that there were a total of 5.19 million Chinese tourists that went abroad during this Spring Festival period, and of those 8.7% went to Japan. So then, how was the amount of money these 450k Chinese tourists spent in the Japanese market calculated? Referencing that Chinese tourists in 2014 January to March spent an average of 250k Japanese yen (approximately 13,000 yuan RMB) in consumption in Japan, 450k Chinese tourists’ consumption total would be 112.5 billion Japanese yen (approximately 6 billion yuan RMB). In actuality, because of there being multiple factors involved in this year’s Spring Festival, the average consumption of Chinese tourists this year may be even more than last year.

So then, why did Chinese tourists going to Japan for vacation and shopping reach a peak for this year’s Spring Festival? According to tourism industry insiders, it is due primarily to four factors.

Chinese tourists are increasingly going to Japan because of lower costs and relaxed visa policies.

One is that the Japanese yen has depreciated. At president, 100 Japanese yen is exchanged for 5.26 yuan RMB, devalued about 15% from last year. Compared to the 100 Japanese yen – 8 yuan RMB peak several years ago, it is comparable to being 35% cheaper. The same 10,000 yuan RMB could get nearly 40k more Japanese yen compared to several years ago, enough to cover the flight from Shanghai to Tokyo, therefore largely stimulating shopping demand.

Two is that Japan expanded the scope of tax-free goods in October of last year, with food and cosmetics being brought into the scope of being tax-free for foreigners, increasing shopping demand from those visiting Japan.

Three is that the Japanese government has loosened visa requirements for Chinese tourists visiting Japan, so that many city residents can very easily obtain three-year multi-entry visas, making visiting Japan easier than before.

Four is that flight costs have also dropped, especially due to international oil prices, so that fuel surcharges for flights (roundtrip) between China and Japan have been lowered approximately 200 yuan. As a result, Spring Airlines has even established a Sakura Cherry Blossom line, with a roundtrip ticket being just 1948 yuan including tax, so that one can visit Japan’s Hokkaido for less than 2000 yuan.

Comments from NetEase:

我对毛澤東的爱永远不变 [网易上海市网友]:

Let’s take a count, those in support of Japanese goods, click [upvote].

网易湖南省岳阳市手机网友 ip:110.52.*.*

People going abroad to shop is not an embarrassment to our ordinary common people but to our [domestic] companies/products, our government regulatory departments. Here, even when it comes to a Tsingtao beer that costs several kuai, I have never drank a real one.

黑煞神 [网易云南省昭通市手机网友]:

Japanese people laugh without commenting.

叶傲天下 [网易福建省泉州市网友]:

No matter how you people boycott [Japanese goods], you can’t stop me from watching Sora Aoi or Yui Hatano’s videos.


This is how pathetic some people are. Just what’s so great about Japanese good? How come we don’t hear of Japanese people shopping like this in China? Angry!

char52000305 [网易天津市手机网友]: (responding to above)

Are Japanese people crazy? What Japanese products aren’t better than Chinese counterparts? Do you only purchase inferior products and not good products? Are Japanese people supposed to not buy their own Toyota and instead come to China to buy BYD?

zm孤獨患者 [网易湖南省娄底市手机网友]:

And [the government] says it wants to stimulate domestic consumption, yet these days, just how many domestic products can consumers buy without worrying [about quality/safety]?

网易广东省广州市手机网友 ip:14.16.*.*

Wow, such a heavy sour grapes smell [referring to other comments reacting negatively to this phenomenon].

撸先进 [网易湖南省郴州市网友]:

Customs officials laugh, the year is half over and there are still people giving Chinese New Year presents, even by the shipping container!

网易江苏省南京市手机网友 ip:117.136.*.*

Retarded, those who share my view, ding this up.

救世主基督耶稣 [网易德国手机网友]:

What’s most embarrassing is that after packaging it all, shipping it back in a shipping container, and paying taxes, it is still cheaper than [if purchased] domestically… What are Japanese people’s incomes… what are Chinese people’s incomes…? Sigh.

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  • Poodle Tooth

    We could be a family
    Consume many goods
    We could be the pillars
    Of our neighborhood

    • Guest

      for e.g.

  • chucky3176

    “What Japanese produts aren’t better than Chinese counterparts?”

    Toilets, for one. Chinese media mocks Japan’s luxury lavatories that Chinese tourists buy.

    Editorial by Japanese paper that refers to Chinese tourists in Japan as “Golden Hordes”.

    Japanese goods are very cheap now due to years of deflation and a currency that has depreciated against the US dollar by 50% since 2012. The Japanese currency depreciated majorly against just about every other currency. For non-Japanese, the prices are now cheap, contrary to the reputation of Japan as a very expensive place.

    • Mighty曹

      Chucky, it appears you missed the point. The netizen was saying every Japanese products ARE better in a rhetorical question.

  • vonskippy

    How incredibly two-faced the Chinese are. In one sentence, they’re saying All Japanese are evil and must die, and in the next Oh look shiny Japanese goods that I must buy.

    I guess your whole racist xenophobe thing can be bought off by shiny objects.

    • Mighty曹

      It’s a dilemma.

    • 白色纯棉小裤裤

      How incredibly simple minded you are. You are surprised by the fact that among 1.4 billion people there are different opinions?

      • Mighty曹

        ;-) ;-)

      • Dolph Grunt

        Different opinions aren’t forbidden?

    • NeverMind

      It’s like people who use ‘Made in China’ keyboards to bash China on ChinaSmack…I know that never happens in reality, but just use it as an example /s

      • ESL Ninja

        Difference being that they don’t actually choose to buy keyboards made in China, they probably couldn’t give a fuck where the keyboard was made.

    • Dick Leigh

      I’ve met Chinese who froth at the mouth about Imperial Japan and who rant about how Japan is STILL plotting to dominate China, and other Chinese who watch anime, eat sushi and dream of visiting Japan.

      Often in the same room!

      • The reality is, it is impossible for Japan to conquer China in its current state unless they are capable of receiving a steady supply of oil and natural resources without it being cut during a war.

        The Chinese can rest assured that they will always win if Japan was to ever attack them.

        Survivability during a war without foreign support:
        China = 6 months
        Japan = 1 month

        Source: Friend from the military

        • Alan Dale Brown

          uh, this is about shopping, not about war …

          • mwal

            The Harrods sale meets both definitions.

          • Lol von Random Name

            What a nice fantasy you live in, here in the real world struggles between nations exist and economics drive them primarily now since religious wars are pretty much just a Middle East thing now (save a few African countries).

          • Alan Dale Brown

            This article is still about shopping, not war, li’l boo-boo. -20 for reading comprehension.

        • mr.wiener

          I think the Japanese have probably watched “The Princess Bride” by now:

      • Lol von Random Name

        Me too. I ban the anti-Japanese Chinese people from my classes tho. I have a zero-right-wing policy ;)

    • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

      “You aren’t fit to even lick my boot! Now make me an overpriced toilet I can throw money at.”

    • bro

      White people are the same too? I hate Obama lets vote for him.

      • Vance

        They voted for him without questioning his policies because they wanted to get that first “minority” president. So now, yes, you do have this situation where people voted for him but he has low approval ratings, because many people really don’t like waht he is doing. I, however, can absolve myself of that responsibility because I did in fact research his beliefs and policies before the election , determined I did not like them, and voted for somebody else.

        • Paul Schoe

          It is always good to research policies before voting (or not voting) for somebody. Luckily for Obama, there were also millions of people who voted for him because of his policies, not only because he is from a minority.

          There is no reason to patronize other people simply because they have another opinion then you.

          • Vance

            Actually I was agreeing with bro’s comment. There was alot of that going on. Now, there was also poeple who voted for Obama because of agreement with his policies. But Obama’s policies and/or the way he has implemented them are not favored by a majority of the voters. Also, bro’s theory would help explain why Obama won 2 presidential elections by comfortable majorities, while in the interim elections, they voted in poeple for Congress and state governorships by large margins who disagreed with Obama’s approach, and why polls often show much disagreement with Obama. Usually candidates who differ that much from general trends in public opinion are not elected president. Also, in must be noted that the hesitancy by the opposition party to actually act in opposition to Obama in meaningful ways also contributed to Obama’s winning.

          • Paul Schoe

            they voted in poeple for Congress and state governorships by large margins who disagreed with Obama’s approach
            You imply that the majority of the voters did not vote for Democrats but for Republicans. However, that is not the case. The problem is that the US voting system is not fully democratic but it provides, relatively speaking, more seats to the smaller states than that they should have based on their number of citizens. In reality, even during the last election, the Democrats received millions more votes than the Republicans, but did get fewer seats because of this system.

          • Alex Dương

            The last election referring to the 2014 Congressional elections?

          • Paul Schoe

            Yes, but I stand corrected. From a brief search, the difference in votes is several hundred thousand (not millions ) in favor of the Democrats but the Republicans won most seats.

            There are two reasons for this:
            1) states with fewer citizens have a relatively larger number of seats. At this moment this benefits Republicans as those are often the so-called ‘red states’.
            2) Within the states there are districts that work according to the ‘Winner-takes-All’ principle. A good example of this is North Carolina where during the 2014 elections, Democrats had 44% of the votes but received only 3 out of 13 seats.

            It is a very complex issue that defies the nature of direct democratic procedures but was implemented to give regions with a lower population a better representation in Congress. However it does result into conclusions such as the one from Vance that says that “people voted by large margins . . . ” while with a true democratic system, the result would be very different.

            Another famous example is the Bush – Gore presidential election, where 540.000 more persons voted for Al Gore, but Bush nevertheless became president. For many people like me, used to European democracy, such results are just baffling.

          • Alex Dương

            I think Republican candidates indeed received more total votes than Democratic candidates in the 2014 Congressional elections



            but yes, I see your point.

          • Paul Schoe

            Interesting links, thanks. Somebody put a lot of work into that.

            For the senate, I couldn’t see the exact number (most info was about predictions). I still think that there the majority number of votes went democratic, but the seats are per state (or even per region). But, as I said, it is a very complex issue (particularly for foreigners to understand), and the system with states and with districts where ‘Winner-takes-All’, runs against my gut-feeling of what democracy is (one person – one vote and equal relative representation in governing bodies that you vote for)

        • Guest

          The reason Obama is so unpopular with the people who voted him in is that he couldn’t deliver on his promises – because the Republican Congress was opposing him at every turn – and the reason that America has a progressive president but a Republican Congress is that many of the same people who voted in presidential elections don’t bother voting in the less flashy election for congress.

          The above, that people would vote in the ‘big election’ but ignore the others, explains why Toronto is a stronghold for Federal liberals and NDP, but ended up with Rob Ford as mayor – the same people who vote Liberal/NDP in federal election, don’t bother voting for the municipal election which has a super low turn out of 30, and ‘the progressive vote’ is extremely split between a long list of candidates.

          • Vance

            America does have an affinity for split ticket voting (one party controlling executive, the other controlling legislative. Turnout is important. The politicians just have get out the vote as much as they can. The poiint of the original post was that Americans seemed to be eager to vote for Obama, and yet opinion polls and comment trends on the Internet seem to show a dislike for him. Congress has their own low approval ratings that is well deserved in many cases. The implication of the commenter’s observation is probably a mix several factors including: people just not knowing what Obama’s policies were (He stated them on many occasions, but the Media often just did not vet him well.), and poeple having superficial reasons for voting for him. He would not be the first politician who gained a percentage of votes due to physical traits.

          • Paul Schoe

            In America, the results of polls depend very much on which topic is being queried, which entity performs the poll and which news station publishes (part of) results of the poll. Over the years I have become very sceptical of remarks such as “opinion polls and comment trends on the Internet seem to show . . . “.

            On a side note: if there is one president whose words are critically followed, then it is Obama. There is a small but very vocal group that analyses in depth, and with furor, any remark he makes and any action he does.

        • A lot of people voted neither for HIS policies nor his ethnicity, but because the alternative’s policies were far worse.

          • Vance

            It is true that the alternative wasn’t very good. Still, the people that vote on party lines or on policies are about the same percentage each election. You could say two things happened: His ethnicity did bring out a contingent to vote for him that otherwise would not have voted for that party or even voted at all, and the mediocrity of the opponent caused many who normally would have voted for that party to either not vote or vote for obscure third party candidates…or write in “Snoopy”. But no one can really say a majority of Americans wanted to be made criminals for not buying some crony’s health insurance product or increased IRS power or higher taxes. Obama said he wanted to do all these things in the couple years leading up to his election. The Media didn’t vet him and poeple just didn’t bother to study this on their own, prefering to take part in the “fad”.

      • Jahar

        I wish I could make some sense out of that second sentence. and Why is your first one a question?

    • Teacher in China

      Nope. There are plenty of hardcores who will not buy anything Japanese, no matter what it is or how cheap it is. Trust me, I live in small town Dongbei.

    • mwal

      That’s a human thing. We draw a line between things and people. Once a TV is in our house, it’s got nothing to do with the Japanese; it’s *ours*.

      During the second world war, the British would have given anything for a few German tanks, and a German pilot famously asked for a squadron of spitfires, and we would have happily used each other’s equipment to kill each other.

      I don’t think Hong Kong will be very happy about all the money it’s missed out on, though.

    • Insomnicide

      During the Japanese invasion of China,there were many Japanese army officers who loved Chinese culture,collected Chinese antiques,read Chinese classics,and yet wouldn’t blink an eye at the massacre of thousands of Chinese civilians.

  • Mighty曹

    These are smart shoppers. I would do the same to avoid buying crap and counterfeit in China.

    • Jahar

      And it helps that spending a ridiculous amount of money helps you gain face.

      • Mighty曹

        That’s the final factor to give them bragging rights, status symbol, etc. I’m just waiting for the bubble to burst and see how they’ll adjust to life.

  • Marcus

    Nobody wonders why same goods are more expensive in China? Import Duties? Red ennveloppes? Etc. ?

    • vincent_t

      mainly VAT, 17% (depending on the goods) on every layers of the supply chain. Imagine if you buy a pencil, 1st VAT imposed when the graphite producer sell the graphite to the pencil manufacturer, then VAT again when pencil manufacturer sells it to whole seller, and so on till the product reaches the supermarket.
      Ever wonder why Chinese government is the richest government in the whole world? This my friend, is the main WHY.

      • ScottLoar

        According to your description a 17% tax is levied at every level of production of every item sold to another; in other words this tax is recursive and progressively adds 17% each time up to the final purchasing price.

        No, you’re wrong. 17% value added tax is imposed on the sale and import of goods and the supply of certain services. VAT like GST (government services tax) in other countries is effectively a tax paid by the final consumer. Look to the Guide to China VAT System – Calculation of VAT Rebates and similar.

        • vincent_t

          I am not referring to the import of goods. But for the supply chain of material to production of good within China itself. The rate varies according to the material, but it is recursive unless the product is of export purpose then u get the rebates. The price you pay your material supplier is inclusive of the 17% tax, and then you charge additional of 17% onto your next buyer. I am not the Finance guy who knows all the details, so I stand to be corrected. But at least when I got the quote from my supplier and to quote my customer, this is how we roll.

      • FYIADragoon

        This is one major reason, but Scott’s correction on the VAT is correct. It’s more due to the variety of goods they levy ridiculous taxes on and how they bottleneck items into these ridiculous taxes.

        • vincent_t

          Well, that too. I am not really sure and not arguing which is the biggest factor here, they are pretty much making an impact. But i guess we can both agree the tax systems in China are to be blamed.

        • ScottLoar

          Not wanting to argue but…

          Since China’s entry into WTO the tariffs on most items have progressively and dramatically decreased, and most of these items are not newsworthy, but there are newsworthy items which attract high tariffs and prohibitions or limitations. I can’t say more here, but understand that China at times practices mercantilism, and aggregates state industries into what has been called “corporate Leninism”. I still go back to what was recently posted by a Weibo commenter translated by ChinaSmack:

          “China’s economy is a combination of a market economy and monopoly economy. When it comes to private enterprises [started by ordinary citizens] and foreign enterprises, it implements a market economy plus unwritten rules to make things difficult. When it comes to central state-owned enterprises, it implements a monopoly economy plus [government] protection. Against foreign enterprises, it brandishes an anti-monopoly cudgel, and while foreign enterprises can withdraw [from the market], private enterprises can only go under.”

          I think the issues here are 1) mainland Chinese are voracious consumers, 2) have a common attitude that foreign goods are better (and that is not always or mainly true, e.g. the quality and variety of local fruits, vegetables and other produce exceeds that of the US by multiples), and 3) define status by possession of fad objects and famous brands. Some mainland Chinese have paid exorbitant prices for local free-range chickens, pork from the breeding of domestic with feral pigs, and now rice from Japan, all of which I attribute to conspicuous consumption.

          • FYIADragoon

            I’m on board with everything you’re saying. They have made reductions, it’s just in my opinion, their starting point was so high, that even with the reductions their taxes are still a tad high.

          • Amused

            “the quality and variety of local fruits, vegetables and other produce exceeds that of the US by multiples”

            Hahaha, I’m with you on most of your post, but I think you might want to do a bit more research on that tip bro.

          • ScottLoar

            You’ve gained a bad Chinese internet habit – “hahaha” as a reply.

            No, it’s not a tip but the result of decades’ experience in both places and many places in between. Most US supermarket vegetables are tasteless in comparison to those from the local Chinese market; you needn’t believe me, you can ask a housewife or cook with experience of both, or you can taste for yourself. US vegetables and fruits are commonly grown for attributes of appearance and preservation during shipment; taste, like the smell, has been driven out. As to variety, just go to the local markets over the course of a week assuming you’re somewhere in China.

            I have heard many Chinese complain about many aspects of China but have yet to hear any with experience of living in America laud the quality and variety of US fruits and vegetables. Most Chinese and lots of other ethnicities go to the local Chinatown in US cities to get truck farmed produce that’s fresh and tasty. Gee, maybe those are good reasons why farmers’ markets open up on weekends in many public squares in the US.

          • Amused

            I’ve had both ace. I’ll take the non-heavy metal poisoned fruits and veggies here thanks.

          • Paulos

            I like your post, but if you’ll allow me to be the finger pointing at the moon for a moment, I’ve done some work with a few of the big music CMs in Weifang and a few cities up north and wouldn’t really describe the made in China instruments as world-class.

            The vast majority of the instruments are low-end, and anything performance grade will need to be outfitted with imported components. Even then, I’d say all that peaked around ’09. Java is increasingly the place to go these days for music assembly.

            In terms of cradle-to-grave mass production of world class instruments, Korea is the only new real contender in the mix (in fact, they trained the workforce in Java). China will get there for sure, but that’s not the case right now.

            FWIW, some of what you’re hearing may be because Gibson bashing is in vogue this year. They made some design updates that upset their rather traditionalist fan base. Some of these unhappy customers are now seeking out companies willing to assemble clones of Gibson instruments without the unpopular changes which of course leads them to China.

          • ScottLoar

            The opinions on guitars in particular were expressed to me in the early 00’s by a professional jazz guitarist who had a long-term gig in Shanghai and bought several string guitars, and an amateur guitarist who played the college rounds in the US. I own my father’s Gibson (and like him can’t play a thing), made in the 20’s according to the serial number, and so that was my reference point. I heard high opinion of the pianos as well, but I’m not a musician and “have no dog in this fight”.

          • Paulos

            Got it. Do you still keep in touch with your friend that was in Shanghai by any chance? The only pro-grade jazz instruments that I know of are put out by a guy named Qian Ni (his workshop makes nice violins, too). If there are other companies making quality stuff, I’d love to check them out.

  • Amused

    Meh. Producing cheap low quality goods is China’s niche and she’s filled it well for a loooooong time now. I live here and genuinely enjoy the country(most of the time…), but damned if I want to pay good money for anything that says “made in China” that isn’t plastic and with a minimal number of moving parts.

    So why is this news surprising to anyone?

    • NeverMind

      It depends on what you buy and where you’re buying from in China. I’ve bought quite a few Made in China things like Camera accessories, Art Materials, Running Gear (excluding shoes), Clothing from Taobao and they turned out good for the price. I’m using a dual sim Huawei Smart Phone and that is very good as well.

      If you’re in China, it’s a good idea to buy anything from a Taobao shop with plenty of reviews and a good seller rating. Also, I would never buy any high-end electronics from a Chinese brand without reading online reviews.

      • Boris

        Even then, you got to be careful. Coolpad gets some decent reviews but has been found to come preinstalled with a backdoor (dubbed ‘Coolreaper’ by the guys who found it). Of course, things like this isn’t new. Take a look at Lenovo as another company that installs such stuff on their products. It is probably why Chinese tech companies are viewed with suspicion.

        • NeverMind

          No worries bud, I got it covered. I make it a point not save any important things like my bank details or nude pics on any mobile device. I have private folders on Qzone and Facebook for that kind of stuff.

  • xiaode

    If you want to buy quality and for a good price… you have to buy outside China! Fact!

  • FYIADragoon

    A plane ticket to Tokyo costs around 4500 RMB round trip for the cheapest flight at the moment. Assuming best case of having relatives so no hotel (why the hell wouldn’t you just have them purchase for you in this case?), you would then need to spend at least 30000 RMB for these savings from JPY depreciation to break even. If you want to actually save money on your purchases, you’ll need to spend over 30000 RMB of course. I’d assume the case for most people is that they’re going to also need to factor in hotel costs though, so you’ll probably need to spend 40000…….That’s a lot of toilet seats, and a metric crapload of thermoses.

    I remember listening to my friend complaining that she went with her family to Japan this holiday and all they did was shop. At least the youth sense the stupidity of all of this.

    • chucky3176

      “all they did was shop”.

      Sounds like they went on a packaged tour.

      • FYIADragoon

        Unfortunately, they had family there, and this was a vacation itinerary of their own doing. Apparently they even managed to fail to hit any good restaurants while they were at it too.

    • Jahar

      There’s a watch I want to buy. it’s 21k in the shop in Wuhan, 14k in the airport in Seoul. The savings would pay for the flight, a weekend in Korea, and I would still have some left over. And if you can’t find a better price than 4.5k fora plane ticket to Tokyo, let me be your travel agent.

  • ESL Ninja

    Chinese people need to buy Japanese products otherwise they will have nothing to smash next time they get sand in their vaginas about Japan being better than them and kicking their arses during the invasion or owning some islands that the Chinese think belong to them.

    • Chaz

      Most things they buy in Japan are not Japanese. Unless the folks in that top photo found a “Made in Japan” Rimowa store…(Same goes for Chinese visiting the US)

    • Alex Dương

      Do you think Dokdo is actually Takeshima and that the Spratly Islands are Japanese too?

      • Jahar

        The only justification for the PRC owning those islands is, “They stole it from Qing. We stole the land from ROC, who stole it from Qing. Ergo, it’s ours.”

        • Alex Dương

          The funny thing is, when you put it that way, the claim doesn’t sound absurd.

          • Jahar

            It is though. As absurd as getting angry about Japan doing anything there while they build a military base 100km from the Philippines, like they did near Vietnam.

          • Alex Dương

            Why? It isn’t a “5,000 years” / “always been” claim; it’s a pre-1895 claim.

            You mention the Spratly Islands dispute in the South China Sea. Did you know that before 1945, the Japanese actually claimed them in addition to the Chinese and the French? And that they used the same argument they used for “Senkaku” and “Dokdo” (i.e. “terra nullius” / “nobody else established control over these islands; we are the first”)?

            I think that’s very relevant because it was so obviously bullshit in the case of the Spratlys. Even if one were to ignore the Chinese and Korean arguments, that alone would cast doubt on the Japanese arguments for their claims.

            As for the Philippines’ claim to the Spratly Islands, first, are you aware of its true origins, and second, don’t you find it weird that they didn’t seem to care about the islands until after 1978? Especially because these islands were right next to them? Granted, that is something I freely concede about China, both the ROC and the PRC, and Diaoyu / Senkaku: modern China didn’t care about them until after 1978 either.

            But you yourself acknowledge that they had a claim before 1895. The Philippines NEVER had a claim until 1978. A Filipino citizen, Tomas Cloma, one day just decided that a bunch of islands were his personal property. Ferdinand Marcos had a grudge against Cloma, imprisoned him, and then extorted Cloma’s “claim” for one Filipino peso. Marcos then proclaimed the Spratlys to be “inviolably” Filipino in 1978. I wish I made that up, but sometimes, truth is weirder than fiction.

          • Jahar

            I don’t care about the reason for the claim(well I do, but that’s not what I’m talking about), it’s the “you have land we claim so don’t build on it, we have land you claim so building on it is okay” hypocrisy. It shows that their ethics and logical reasoning about what is right is solely based on what’s best for them. There’s no set standard, or ethical code they operate by.

          • Alex Dương
          • Jahar

            There is no way the Vietnam is building more there than China. No way. It’s a couple rocks poking out of the sea, and China is building islands for airstrips. I doubt Vietnam has the resources for that. Philippines is 100km away and their outpost is a shipwreck.

          • Alex Dương

            One surprise to Wang so far is the activity of Vietnam, which is developing reefs and artificial islands in the Spratly Island, the largest South China Sea archipelago that Taiwan also claims. Hanoi has landfilled shallow reefs and built homes on some islets, according to images that can be blown up to about a square meter per islet.

            “It’s really clear,” Wang says. One Vietnamese landfill project spans 11 football fields, he says. “Everyone is talking about mainland China, but Vietnam is going all out.

            “This year they’ve landfilled to here, but maybe next year they will fill out to there,” he says, pointing to spots on a handbill-sized map of the full ocean that he’s allowed to print out for discussion purposes.

            It’s simply not true that the other claimants were taking a hands off approach.

          • Jahar

            If that’s true, I’m wrong, and surprised. That said, when you don’t cite the quote, it’s pretty hard to consider it legit. Who the hell is Wang.

            “The President of the U.S. is an alien,” says Smith. “I have all the proof right here, as you can see.”

            But still, I’d rather have Vietnam build some houses near me than have China building army bases.

          • Alex Dương
          • Jahar

            I didn’t realize that was a link. I was wondering why it was a different color. I’ll check it out now. Or maybe I won’t Can’t seem to open it.

          • Alex Dương

            I don’t know if the Christian Science Monitor is blocked in China.

          • Jahar

            It’s one of those, “Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t.” Pages. So you don’t live here? Have you before?

          • Alex Dương

            I don’t and never have. I’ve twice visited my grandparents (not nearly enough, but that’s another story), and my last visit pretty strongly convinced me that I have no interest in ever living in mainland China.

  • Guest

    I decided to buy a Chinese brand (Haier) fridge freezer in one of my homes in China and despite it high expense and being huge with double doors, i hate it… Why? Because it makes a hell of a noise! Which of course i did not know when i looked at it in store.. Anyone know a way to try and make the noise quieter or less frequently?

    Most of the other things from air conditioning to the TV were either Japanese, Korean or European although probably put together in China I have no fear that they will break anytime soon. However, I do believe that Chinese products will and are slowly getting better, the time will come that there products will become more trustworthy. But, I would not bother with the hassle of going overseas to buy things for a new house like the man in the story… If the news has taught us anything though it is not to buy a Japanese car for use in China…

    • ScottLoar

      Maybe the hell of a noise comes from the compressor or fan, which seems odd on a new refrigerator. Perhaps the compressor mounts are loose or the fan out of kilter during transport or installation, the refrig weighs a lot and many techs just muscle and drop kick the unit during loading and unloading for deliveries; perhaps you should have a refrigeration technician from Haier check it out.

      • Paul Schoe

        Although I have had my fair share of problems (which you do not want in the first place), I have been very impressed and satisied with the after-sales service of Haier. They come promptly at no charge and do their best. So ‘Guest’, Scottloar’s advice is not bad at all, it might be worthwhile to ask a Haier technician to come and have a look.

    • Teacher in China

      It’s already starting to happen imo. I have a pair of 361 basketball shoes that were cheap and the quality is amazing. Going for 2 years now, wearing them pretty much every day. Some electronics are also getting better, including phones – check out the stats on the latest Xiaomi smart phone. Everyone used to make fun of Japanese stuff in Canada too back in the ’80s; then suddenly that changed. It’ll happen for China too eventually.

      • FYIADragoon

        Xiaomi’s got a backdoor for their government to piggy back on. I think the example you should be using is last year’s hottest Android Phone, the One Plus One. I think that company has better future potential.

        • Teacher in China

          Don’t know anything about that one, but I’d like to hear more.
          Been reading a lot about Xiaomi through the BBC lately though, and I like what I see. I talked my wife into buying the latest one (not the very best and latest, as that hasn’t come out yet, or just hasn’t reached our little town yet) and I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen. Screen quality, speed, size, weight are all excellent. Only thing left is durability. We’ll see.

        • ScottLoar

          I, too, was warned about Xiaomi.

        • Jahar

          I won’t buy Chinese electronics because of the unfair advantage they get, based on the prices of rare earths.

          • vincent_t

            Where you got the info that they have advantage on rare earths? Xiaomi uses Nvidia and/or Snapdragon for MCU and most other IC are foreign brands too. Their cost is so low because of 2 main reasons:
            1. They are the “web based” company, where all sales channel are through e-commerce, no brick n mortal shop.
            2. They try to make no or minimum profit from hardware (though , instead they target to earn from the software update and content purchase.
            3. Of coz, they press their suppliers for cost. If you ask around, not many businesses now want to take their order due to low profit margin.

          • Jahar

            I have no info about xiaomi other than that it’s a Chinese company, and domestic companies get rare earths at a lower price. I do my best to avoid supporting Chinese companies in general though.

          • vincent_t

            It is totally up yours what product you want to support, nothing wrong about it. But just to point out that many people have more or less some level of prejudice over “China Made” products, and choose to believe the significant quality and innovative advancement in the product are the result of theft and unfair competition. It may be true for most cases, but the point is they are making huge progress while the other First World Countries laugh at them and taking them as a joke. My feeling is that sooner or later we will realize that the Chinese brands make things superior that wipe our products out from the market. Heard of the story of Rabbit & The Turtle?

            P/S: Just FYI I am not Chinese, just a tech expat working in China.

          • Jahar

            It’s not news the way they do business, and the fact that the products are getting better. I just don’t trust anyone or anything here, especially the government. I don’t support those companies because I want to minimize the support I give them. They are already back to increasing protectionism, so their companies can get so dominant here that they can eventually compete unfairly. Same as in the aforementioned rare earths industry.

    • Vance

      Japan went through a period where they made junk products as they were rebuilding after the war, then they got their act together to make some of the best stuff. So maybe China is now going through that similar period as they modernize after having so recently come out of a series of political disasters themselves.

    • Gerhana

      have you tried threatening your fridge with a gun?

  • Balkan

    I understand that the interpreter is in a rush to publish the article, but please proofread it before its published.

    “Chinese tourists on Japanese” (line under the photo) – ?

  • mwal

    The taxes paid on the money spent don’t go toward equipping the Japanese armed forces, then?

    • Amused

      You’re aware they don’t have “armed forces” right? Their constitution legally binds them to only having a “defense force”. For now at least ;)

      • mwal

        And this “defense force” is unarmed, right ?
        No, wait! They ARE armed!

        So they’re armed forces.

        • Amused

          I know, right? Pretty damned funny that.

  • Balkan

    I know it is usually thought that Chinese goods are cheap. They are, but not the good quality kind. Actually, good quality merchandise in China (food, furniture, commodities…) is much more expensive than in Europe, the US or Japan.

  • Edward Kay

    Good good, lets forget about the Senkaku Islands thingie.

  • H Janson

    The problem is that Chinese are finally starting to actually want quality things. But there’s a billion others who don’t care and will fake literally everything if it means an extra kuai in their pocket then play dumb like they had no idea their corner cutting was deadly. Best advice for China: Never trust Chinese. Even Chinese know it’s true.

    • Alex Dương

      That’s an overexaggeration. You should never “trust” anyone you don’t know / haven’t done business with; contract law exists for a reason.

      • H Janson

        Chinese should never be trusted, take it from someone who’s been here far longer than you have. They will stab you in the back the instant they get the chance, even if it doesn’t actually benefit them in any real way.

        • Alex Dương

          You’re generalizing your bad experiences to describe more than 1 billion people. Surely you realize how absurd that is.

          And as I said, contract law exists for a reason. We wouldn’t need it if you could just “trust” people.

          • H Janson

            Hahaha, it’s called reality. After you stop wetting the bed you might learn something about it.

          • Alex Dương

            No, it’s called stupidity. But hey, if you think trust is not an issue outside of China, please give me your bank account information. I can deliver a 12% annualized rate of return for you, and my fees are a very reasonable 2%.

          • Jahar

            I was with you up until that last sentence.

      • Yes!

        I don’t want to enter into a 10 post debate here, but I just want to add a bit of perspective to what Janson said. In China, “contract law” is almost non existent. Even the Chinese government cannot be trusted. If you wish to know more, check out Singapore government’s Suzhou Industrial Park collaboration with China. (SG government got screwed by the local government). You probably won’t find anything substantial on it on wikipedia, but here’s one book you might want to read to get some angle on (if you’re interested to find out more about China) : “China Whispers” by Ben Chu (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

        While you are right about the not generalising bit, the level of trustworthiness that can be found in the USA, or UK, or Germany, or HK or Singapore or Japan will be much much much higher than can be found in China. In China, you might get far if you have strong relationships with their people such as close relatives or friends (and I mean friends, not those you had just 2 beers with), because relatives can point you to people who have decent sense of principles (fear of losing face among those in the network acts as a sort of deterrent against betrayal mostly) . They call it “guanxi”. While I can easily walk into California and set up a business and find partners in a short time after doing a bit of background checks and a few rounds in the local diner, I am asking to be screwed if I do the same in China. Many foreign companies have already been screwed by their local government partners since the first day they opened their economy to the world. None as far as I know have been able to take their partners to court to get compensation for contract breaches. Russia got screwed by the China government some years back; China had signed a 200 fighter jet deal to produce in a China factory for x billions rubles but after the 100th fighter jet, China cancelled the contract, reverse engineered the aircraft and continued producing them without paying Russia anything. When the government cannot be trusted, what else can you expect of the people?

        Japan’s bullet trains regret working with China:

        • Alex Dương

          In China, “contract law” is almost non existent…the level of trustworthiness that can be found in the USA, or UK, or Germany, or HK or Singapore or Japan will be much much much higher than can be found in China.

          We are in agreement here. My issue with Janson’s comments is that if I take them at face value, he’s saying that outside of China, especially in the countries you listed, I should be able to do business without getting any lawyers involved or signing any contracts because hey, “trust.”

          That is, of course, not recommended.

        • ScottLoar

          Your example of the Singapore government’s experience in Suzhou is pertinent and correct; the Singapore government was dumbfounded to eventually understand their industrial park mooted by competition from the very authority which granted them the industrial park rights. So much for 关系 (“clout” for those who know it) which protection is grossly exaggerated, and the Singaporean government’s naivety in misplacing trust and presuming understanding with fellow Chinese. True, relatives and kinship account for more trust but… not any more so than in the West, and the death of the family patriarch invariably initiates land warfare among the inheritors, just like anywhere else.

          Anybody approaching business here with a win-win philosophy is going to get fleeced for the lamb he is. I cannot understand why otherwise intelligent and experienced business people suspend all common sense and commercial experience when first dealing with the mainland Chinese. And by the way, Taiwanese are also seen in the Far East and Southeast Asia as ruthless and untrustworthy.

  • Vance

    The thing this reminds me of is that there are MANY products here in America that are made in China…

    • Yes!

      A lot of electronic products are made in China, because a high percentage of parts are from OEMs located there. But there is a huge difference between products of established brands (such as Samsung, Apple, Acer, JBL, etc ) produced in China and those made in China Chinese brands (Xiaomi excepted, their product quality is pretty decent ). Thing is, factories of big international brands there are typically managed by foreign managers who implement strong quality control practices, so their products tend to be of the better/good quality that we have come to expect. Batch testing ensures that production rejects are kept out of the market. The only problem would be local managers not destroying the rejected batches according to company rules; in many instances, mid level Chinese managers in cahoot with fellow Chinese workers would find ways for rejects to be smuggled out of factories and sold to third parties for a profit which eventually find their way into discount “factory outlets” both on the mainland as well as overseas. Local Chinese factories making local brand products, however, are not up to international standard in terms of quality manufacturing and control; mainland Chinese workers generally have not embraced the quality culture that one would find in Japanese and European factories.

      • ScottLoar

        Really good to see a person with practicable experience of China posting here beyond the usual superficial anecdotes.

      • Teacher in China

        The only thing the international companies can’t seem to get right, however, is keeping the environment for the workers in these factories safe. Samsung and Apple in particular have faced too many accusations of unfair and unsafe work practices for my liking; and Apple in particular annoys me since they make enough money in China alone to be able to put in strict supervision and make sure these things never happen.

        • ScottLoar

          International companies, at the very least those of Western Europe, Canada and especially the USA, are held to the same standards as applies in their home companies, and in China are particularly targeted for any suspected violations of local law.

          Apple (which company I do not favor and which brand products I do not use) contracts manufacturing through suppliers, most especially Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (dba Foxconn), a Taiwan-based company. I do not defend Foxconn, but suggest you look more deeply into the reporting rather than presume “unfair and unsafe work practices”. Apple had done everything possible to avoid this bad publicity and redress all suspicions short of policing the factory floor and management. Now, more and more foreign manufacturers are removing to Vietnam because the hassles in China are too many.

          “Unfair and unsafe work practices”? Everyone would rather work in a Western European or US factory than a Chinese company.

          • Alex Dương

            Now, more and more foreign manufacturers are removing to Vietnam because the hassles in China are too many.

            You’re referring to Chinese workers’ demands for better pay and safer working conditions?

          • ScottLoar

            I’ll answer your nonsense.

            No. Chinese workers at Foxconn are better paid and have safer working conditions than elsewhere in the Guangdong industrial belt. But, why don’t you look more deeply into the reporting than pose such a ridiculous question? Or, maybe you just don’t understand the commercial environment in China and stupidly repeat supposed folk wisdom.

          • Alex Dương

            Chinese workers at Foxconn are better paid and have safer working conditions than elsewhere in the Guangdong industrial belt.

            Do you even remember what you were talking about? You claimed, quote, “more and more foreign manufacturers are removing to Vietnam because the hassles in China are too many.”

            I asked you whether these hassles included demands for better pay and safer working conditions. The answer appears to be yes instead of the “no” you rather insultingly gave because you admit, quote, “Chinese workers at Foxconn are better paid and have safer working conditions than elsewhere in the Guangdong industrial belt.”

          • ScottLoar

            I decline your offer to go skinny-dipping with you in the hog waste lagoon.

          • Alex Dương

            Scott, do I have my disagreements with you? Yes. I think you can be very patronizing at times, tone deaf, and outright rude. Now, if you didn’t like the way I asked that question, no problem. I’ll rephrase: what hassles does China have that Vietnam doesn’t?

          • ScottLoar

            Alex, do I have my disagreements with you? Yes. I think you can be very pretentious at times, purposely obtuse, and outright petty and quarrelsome.

            Frankly Alex, any exchange with you quickly becomes a pain in the ass.

          • Alex Dương

            I told you what I think of you; it’s only fair that you tell me what you think of me. And really, Scott, that’s why you think “any exchange with me quickly becomes a pain in the ass.” Because I expect people to be fair.

            That means that if you’re going to insult me by basically calling me a wuss for describing my experiences of discrimination growing up, you’re within your rights to do that. But then you shouldn’t be crying and insisting that your experiences are real. And you certainly shouldn’t be playing the “laowai” card just because people like Kai disagree with your translations.

            And that means that if I insult you, you can definitely insult me back. But if I ask you a question without insulting you, you can still insult me, but then you kinda look like a jackass when you proceed to call me “quarrelsome.”

            You don’t want to explain what hassles China has that Vietnam doesn’t have, no problem.

          • ScottLoar

            Petty, quarrelsome, purposely obtuse, your post is the very definition. Enough.

          • Alex Dương

            You’re the one who replied to my question with insults when I did not insult you. So let me take out the kinda and be blunt: doing that while calling me “quarrelsome” makes you a jackass. Full stop.

          • Yes!

            May I interject just a minute: foreign manufacturers are not pulling out of China because of those reasons, although for PR reasons both are usually cited to the media. Foxconn employees are pretty well paid compared to the other factories in the region (concur with what Scott said) and the factories are as safe as the safest you can find in China. However they’re not safe enough by US laws, and the media blowup inevitably dim the lights on Foxconn. Now, the real reasons, other than economics, I’ll cite just a few:

            1. China are no longer processing work visas for a lot of top management foreigners; they think their local managers are good enough (bad decision, many of their locals are thieves, corrupt and not competent enough when you remove the top international managers).

            2. Lack of law enforcement on crimes committed at the factories, mainly involving their own local managers. E.g. As I cited above, local managers in cahoots with workers to smuggle production rejects to sell to third parties / local managers selling corporate secrets to fellow China competitors, and so on. You may make a police report, but the moment you left the police station, he calls up the exact guilty local manager and tells him “hey, Wang bro, your boss just came in to make a report…..don’t worry I’ll take care of it….oh by the way, where’s my cut?”.

            3. Non transparent laws : we all hear about the “monopoly” accusations and humongous fines imposed on Microsoft and other international companies. Your lawyers are not allowed to be present, or to make representation. Or if they do, your lawyer might suddenly become too busy to handle your case. Many investors are rattled by this latest incident. (Unless you pay your lawyer so damn well there’s enough to go around the system).

            4. Anti foreigner nationalism. The Japanese are among the largest investors in China. They’re now negotiating a deal with the Philipines govt to move their factories there. En masse.

            5. They set up partnerships with foreign companies. After two years, they kick up all sorts of shenanigans and hassles and you eventually cave in and sell out to them. You have no legal recourse to enforce your rights, or rather, they totally ignore your claims and complaints. Nobody in China gonna represent you, because the system makes it very unprofitable for lawyers to go up against their own kind. They’ve never heard of intellectual property either.

            6. The mainland Chinese mentality: I am Chinese, you are Chinese, we are Chinese, I will stand with you, even if you are wrong and the foreigner is right.

            Those are just but a few.

          • Alex Dương

            Thanks for your reply. What is not clear to me is that if the reasons you gave are “really” why companies are relocating, why are they relocating to Vietnam or the Philippines?

            Yes, Vietnam is ranked higher than China on ease of doing business, but we’re talking 78 vs 90 here. And the Philippines actually ranks lower than China at 95.

            You’ve mentioned lack of respect for contract law and intellectual property in China. On “enforcing contracts,” Vietnam ranks slightly lower than China (47 vs 35), and the Philippines comes in at an abysmal 124. Clearly this wasn’t the reason Japanese firms are thinking of relocating production to the Philippines.

            The Philippines also ranks worse than China when it comes to “protecting minority investors” (154 vs 132). Vietnam is better but also not very good (117). The major benefit of the Philippines seems to be that it’s much, much easier to “get electricity” than China (16 vs 124) or Vietnam (135). Similarly, Vietnam is much better than China at “dealing with construction permits.”

            You say wages and working condition complaints are just PR excuses, but I think wages (lower in Vietnam than China) are a nontrivial reason for relocations.

          • Yes!

            Even with higher wages and better working conditions, it is still profitable to hang around China than to move out. Relocating a factory can set you back by as much as $100 million +- which is more than enough to pay many thousands of workers over many years. Bear in mind also that “higher wages and better working conditions” may be demanded of foreign owned companies but local China companies continue operating with their own low cost manpower working in shabby factory environments without labour rights representation, which tilt the competition even more in favour of China products. But hanging around China with inevitable cost increases looming in the horizon and having to put up with all the other variables and uncertainties are more than what investors can stomach. When you amortise the capital outlay involving setting up a factory in Vietnam or the Philippines, added to operating costs, the unit costs will be similar to what they’re now paying in China, so cost is just but only one issue among many. The one huge unchallengeable plus that China has for which foreigners have been willing to tolerate all the nonsense in/from China is their 1.4 billion population. Greed makes smart people irrational.

            Those statistics mentioned by you do not necessarily reflect true conditions on the ground. The quantity of foreign invested factories in China are huge compared to, say, Vietnam or the Philippines, hence the numbers cited in the statistics are necessarily skewed. In the same way, as Standard & Poors recently announced a new differentiating model and their intent to place Singapore’s solid AAA sovereign fund rating in the same band as Greece’s, the latter country which is so debt ridden it is asking Germany to forget about collecting what’s owed. How ludicrous and braindead is that? So we can’t discuss this based on the statistics you have brought up.

            The Japanese delegation are now talking with the Aquino govt about creating the right framework (legal, financial, labour, etc) for foreign investments. It will take a bit of time but I think they’ll get there. The country is more stable now than it was under the previous regimes. From personal experience, it’s much easier to set up and operate a vacation resort in the Philippines than to do that in China (regardless of what the statistics say). The legal system is there; not comparable to Singapore’s or HK’s but certainly better than China’s. The Philippines is much more business friendly, it seems, without all the political, nationalistic, and cultural idiosyncrasies that you encounter in China. (The Philippines are not devoid of cultural idiosyncrasies but politics and nationalism are so mild if any compared to the shrill and cries of the Chinese). The instances of reneging on contracts in the Philippines (going back to what Jason said about trustworthiness) cannot be compared to how rampant and audacious it is in China, the latter involving state owned partners, communist party officials and local partners (all of whom one way or another are linked directly or indirectly to the CPC).

            The prospect of losing your money is what keeps you awake in China because you may be good with the first few layers of local government but then there are many more higher layers at provincial, regional and national level, and then there are officials who belong to different camps of leaders further up the chain that you have no access to. Your chance of getting commercial justice depends on who you know higher up the chain, not the letter of the contract or the court system. And finally, they can change the laws anytime it suits them. As I said, even their government can screw another government out of contract, depending on who has more guns and warships.

          • Alex Dương

            In the same way, as Standard & Poors recently announced a new differentiating model and their intent to place Singapore’s solid AAA sovereign fund rating in the same band as Greece’s, the latter country which is so debt ridden it is asking Germany to forget about collecting what’s owed. How ludicrous and braindead is that? So we can’t discuss this based on the statistics you have brought up.

            Two problems here. First, my statistics came from the World Bank, not S&P. You are trying to invalidate World Bank statistics by saying that S&P’s rules on sovereign fund ratings are stupid.

            As an aside, the World Bank ranks Singapore in the top 10 on overall “ease of doing business rank.” (In fact, they are #1, but I mention “top 10” to allow for the possibility that you think other countries should be #1.) Is the World Bank wrong in putting Singapore in the top 10? Of course, they can be right for Singapore and wrong for the Philippines, but still, it’s rather convenient to disagree with them this selective way, don’t you think?

            Second, S&P recently downgraded Greece’s sovereign credit rating to B-. Singapore’s is still AAA. So while you have issues, which I think are completely justified, with S&P’s sovereign fund ratings, I don’t think you disagree with the B- credit rating downgrade.

            The World Bank is unaffiliated with the Chinese Communist Party. Their rankings are imperfect, as all rankings are, but I would tend toward them over your subjective personal experiences. (Note that I don’t dismiss your experiences.)

          • Kai

            So we can’t discuss this based on the statistics you have brought up.

            I think there’s an argument for not discussing this based on just the statistics @haysoosnegro:disqus brought up, but not one for dismissing his statistics entirely.

            You are volunteering personal anecdotes and information/perspectives you’ve acquired from other sources. The statistics he’s citing also represent anecdotes, information, and perspectives acquired from a diversity of sources. They should all be considered and weighted accordingly, right?

          • redwhitedude

            Sounds like legal shennanigans plus always blame the foreigners. Whatever ends up occuring it will be China’s loss. I don’t think the Chinese are in a position yet to replace these foreign brands with their own without loss in quality yet. In fact the way they seem to do things or have set up it is about leeching off foreign companies. Not sure how they will manage in that input from foreign companies gets reduced.

            I have to guess a lot of this is because it is still a communist country.

          • xiaode

            thx! very good comment! 100% agree!
            Let´s see when foreign companies move out of China… and the crying starts….

          • Teacher in China

            The most recent allegations against Apple, just last year and after Apple promised to clean up their supervision following Foxconn and other scandals, included workers having their ID cards confiscated, workers sleeping on the factory production floor and equipment, and the other usual BS that happens in Chinese factories all over the country. Foreign companies move out of Western countries exactly because they know they can exploit lack of labour laws in Asian countries to increase profits. If Apple were really serious about keeping things 100% safe, they would police the factory floor and management. Considering they made 16 BILLION dollars in 4 MONTHS in China at the end of 2014, I think they can afford to send 100 people to China to police everything, all the time, and make sure absolutely none of this shit goes on in any factory providing them with parts with their phones.

          • ScottLoar

            Then Apple has to work out policing the premises with the owners and management of Foxconn, because Apple doesn’t own Foxconn.

            Foreign companies move out of Western countries exactly because 1) high and sometimes restrictive tariffs plus transport costs, or a regional trading zone, oblige local manufacture if the market is large enough (well, look to Brazil), 2) an established infrastructure of local components, assembly and sourcing offer a path precedence (well, look to stuffed toy manufacture), which can also be called “comparative advantage”, 3) sometimes aggressive unions force removal (well, look at the US auto industry), 4) local restrictions will not allow manufacture (well, look to the processing of rare earths in the US), 5) certain processes require unusual talents (well, look to traditional handiwork, or look to proofreading of ancient Greek texts by Koreans; yeah, I can explain why). There are surely other reasons. But, if your simplistic low wages were the key to industrial success then Bangladesh would be the manufacturing capital of the world, yes? For our own US-made product American, unionized labor rate is less than 5% of our manufacturing cost whereas the ready availability of components dictates we build in the US; why do you assume labor cost decides where a product is to be built?

            Now Teacher in China, do you honestly believe in your heart of hearts that a US company operating in China can ignore the policies governing company actions in the US? For example, do you think a US company in China can blithely under-invoice as is so common as to be universal among Chinese companies? Do you think a US manager is not held accountable to the same standards of employee relations, conduct and integrity as in the US?

            Here’s an example of how it works, Teacher in China: A few years ago Elle magazine, a French publication, was bought by a US publisher. The local staff expected the usual covey of foreigners to come in and spend days discussing marketing and sales, but instead (and I pegged this exactly right when it was recounted to me) only two persons from the US side showed up. One was the corporate comptroller to check the books and make sure everything was accurate, correct to accounting standards, and honest. The second was the corporate lawyer to tell everyone that everything must be legal and accord with both US and Chinese law. That’s the reality, and not your simplistic but typically uninformed view that “It’s all about THE MONEY!” True, every manager has a responsibility to give value back to the shareholders but this is not the era of the robber barons of industry; US companies and individuals are held responsible for their actions even long after the event.

            Rather than fall into the simple but misleading dichotomy of good vs. bad please look to the reality of a situation and understand good and bad typically have nothing to do with the events. US practice is governed by law independent of the managing authority; gee, I wish China was too.

          • Teacher in China

            Sorry for the late reply, took me this long to read your comment ;)
            Kidding – been laid up with a brutal cold….
            Your examples all make sense to me. I still maintain that the main reason companies move production to developing countries is profit. The main motivation of any corporation is to make money, plain and simple. They can increase profits by like 100 times by moving to these countries, and they don’t have to deal with niggling issues like human rights. Yes, there are other factors involved in their decisions, I know things aren’t always as black and white as we want to think, but again the MAIN factor is profit.

            Feel free to disagree, I’m not going to argue you on this point any more. Too much work (and commenting) to catch up on after being sick.

        • Yes!

          Apple’s production in China is farmed out to Taiwanese owned contractor Foxconn. I agree that they could’ve done more to improve the working environment. That said, due to the size of the workforce (at one time 400,000?) the management there run it like a military camp / city under martial law (almost robot like clockwork, discipline) to offset low productivity due to non existent quality mindset of the mainland workers. Discipline can also be a problem as a fair bit of their army of workers are drawn from the peasant lands. While Chinese workers are generally lauded for their work ethic (hard work, high stamina work, but not nec smart work), many of them opt to work very long hours to pad their incomes. The pressure there is immense and many workers couldn’t adapt and cope with the “trauma” of the modern day production line. To be fair, I wouldn’t put the blame fully on Foxconn or Apple either. The Chinese government can play a huge and critical role in ameliorating this situation by ensuring their population is prepared through their education system for the manufacturing jobs that flooded the mainland, but they didn’t do any of that. The officials from every relevant department were too busy collecting millions / billions from foreign investors for their own personal benefit, which inevitably push up capital outlay and production costs on the mainland. And whatever happened at the Apple factory floor, happens at many other factories in China.

          • Teacher in China

            Since Apple is the one making 16 billion dollars in 4 months in China (as they did at the end of 2014), I feel like the onus is on them to make sure working conditions in all the factories providing them with parts are as close to perfect as they can get. Call me crazy, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  • Yes!
    • Vance

      Wow! That is an absolutely fabulous building! Very nice. They would not be allowed to segregate tourists at facilities in America, but there in Thailand where they can apparently, the fact that they are spending money to build a separate restroom facility is evidence that these incidents described as occurring at this temple’s facility are very common and not isolated extreme incidents.

      • Jahar

        If you guys start to see what your average Chinese people do to toilets, things will change.

  • Vance

    Is it actually cheaper to FLY to a neighboring country to buy things than to buy things in your town? I communicate with a girl from Nanning. She keeps telling me of people flying to Hong Kong to shop because stuff is cheaper there. I would think the cost of plane tickets and hotels would cancel out any savings you get. Am I wrong? Are these just very extravagant rich people who do this because they can?

    • Paul Schoe

      It are not just extravagant rich people who do that. Many people can afford a ticket to HK nowadays. From the people that I know, it is not that they decide to go to HK because they have to buy something, but they intend to have a nice short holiday and then decide for HK instead of somewhere on the mainland because then, at the same time, they can get products of a higher quality against lower prices. It makes them feel that trip as a whole is cheaper and incidentally they even succeed to ‘earn’ their flight back.
      (I am not talking about (semi-)professional traders)

      • Vance

        I see. “We are going on a vacation reqardless, so why not to a place where things are sold cheaper. That way, we can pick up that widget we’ve been needing or wanting and get it for much less.” a more efficient way of vacationing. It is surprising that prices seem to be so high in China, or is that just for high quality stuff?

    • Kai

      Generally, no, but it of course depends on what you’re buying or how much you’re buying. In terms of cost savings, you have to look at the parallel traders since they’re the ones who are actually in an operation to make a profit. Most people are just buying stuff while on vacation, or making a vacation out of buying stuff, so they are traveling for multiple reasons and not strictly concerned with bottom line cost savings on products.

  • Dolph Grunt

    Oh my! Chinese people with money aren’t shopping in China. That’s new.

    • redwhitedude

      They are also parking their wealth in other countries. That’s not new.

  • Xman2014

    Three times as many Chinese visited South Korea, rather than Japan.

    What is Hong Kong’s loss, is South Korea’s gain, as South Korea expects 10 million Chinese visitors to South Korea. Many Chinese, turned off by Hong Kong’s hostility towards mainland Chinese, turn to friendlier South Korea.

    Many Chinese clerks are highly sought after, hired by shopping malls around South Korea.

  • Xman2014

    South China Morning Post article says Hong Kong’s weariness with mainland tourists, and Chinese tourism characteristic which is reluctance to revisit places they’ve already visited, means that South Korea and Japan are reaping the benefits of Chinese tourism.

    As well, South Korea (not counting Hong Kong and Macau) will be the top tourist destination for Chinese

    • redwhitedude

      The question is will these Chinese wear out their welcome in SK and Japan as well?

  • Zen my Ass

    It’s actually cheaper buying in Japan than in China at the moment, due to deflation mostly… and Japanese are not yet at odds with Chinese as HKongers are, so keep it going till it lasts (because it won’t last of course).

  • That’s marvelous

    I thought Chinese spent their holidays getting plastic surgeries in Korea?

  • DC

    I’d love to consume some Japanese AV idols..

  • Mao Zexi

    People in general don’t have a clue about the international relation between China and Japan. Wasn’t there a survey saying something like half of the Chinese population thought there would be war between the countries within 10 years? Japan has nothing to gain from war. Neither has China. The reason they’re always arguing about Diaoyu/Senkaku or apologizing for the war and all that shit is simply to whip up nationalistic fervor to keep their citizens from focusing on domestic issues (or gain votes from old people). It’s disgusting.

  • Zebadee

    Even my Chinese wife NEVER allows anything China-made near our new baby. ALL our baby stuff is made in other countries, including quite a bit of stuff from Japan. We did buy a China-made water heater / sterilizer, but only because we needed one in a hurry. Of course … it stopped working in less than a week.

  • hello123

    because european goods are way too expensie. i’m not going to spend $2000 USD on a jura coffee maker

  • bert

    Yes! We all know how sucky Chinese toilet seats are. They are crap.

  • Gary

    Imported food, check.
    Imported cosmetics, check.
    Imported baby formula, check.
    Imported toilet seats, wtf???

  • LeanatanHannin

    Most of the Japanese products are Made in China recently.

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