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China Daily Website

Chinese exporters re-group

Updated: 2013-09-17 11:10
By Li Jiabao in New York ( China Daily)

"Made in China" might be a term known worldwide, but few Chinese brands are recognized among Western consumers.

The image of Chinese goods has been damaged by scandals in past years. But "the quality of Chinese exports to the United States has increased remarkably compared with that two decades ago. And the image of 'Made in China' also improved," said Stephen A. Orlins, president of the National Committee on United States-China Relations.

"What's more, there was no quality scandal in Chinese exports to the US this year," Orlins noted, adding that scandals can damage many other aspects in addition to the companies' images.

Jack Rosen, chairman of the American Jewish Congress and the chief executive officer of Rosen Partners LLC, a New York-based real estate firm, echoed that view.

"China's products are far better than its image," Rosen said.

The "Made in China" label is one of the most recognizable labels in the world today due to the country's rapidly developing manufacturing industry. China's position as the world's largest exporter places the label on a wide range of goods from clothing to electronics. However, too many times, the label is a symbol of cheap and poorly manufactured products.

The US was China's second-largest trade partner and the country's top export market last year. Bilateral trade rose 8.5 percent year-on-year to $484.68 billion, accounting for 12.5 percent of China's overall trade, while the country's foreign trade expanded 6.2 percent year-on-year in 2012.

Chinese exports to the US increased 8.4 percent year-on-year in 2012, while imports were up 8.8 percent, leaving a trade surplus of $18.92 billion, according to China's General Administration of Customs.

In the first seven months of the year, China-US trade increased 6.2 percent from a year earlier, with Chinese exports rising 2.3 percent year-on-year and its imports surging 16.2 percent, according to the customs agency.

In the same period, Chinese exports to Canada went up 2.6 percent.

"The Made in China label now reflects the industrial upgrading in China, and Canada now gets labor-intensive products from China as well as high-tech ones," said Yu Jianwei, commercial counselor at the Consulate General of China in Toronto.


As the economic growth slowdown in developed economies reduced overseas demand in recent years and foreign trade in the world's second-largest economy eased its double-digit growth pace, China's government pledged to create a new competitive edge for its foreign trade, supported by technology, brand, quality and services.

China's new leadership wants to transform the country's economic growth model and shift it from the heavy reliance on investment and exports to a consumption-driven pattern, which is believed to be more sustainable.

Chinese exports are important to US consumers. But "the biggest problem for Chinese products in the US is the lack of their own brands, even though Chinese manufacturing can make a living with the OEM model," Orlins said.

He added that US consumers may not know more than three Chinese brands other than Tsingtao Beer, Haier and Lenovo, which is few compared with their knowledge of Japanese and South Korean brands. However, US imports from China are much larger than those from Japan and South Korea, Orlins noted.

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