Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Country of Origin

During the show, I get to meet a lot of people from many different backgrounds and it is interesting to see how we all only focus on the handmade theme of the show and the bikes. There was never any sentiment that I could feel that being a Chinese is any issue or disadvantage.

The reason I mention this is that a lot of times in various forums on the internet, people would mention "sh*t build in China" and it became a common phrase to mention or label something poorly made. However, not everything made in China is bad in quality. This kind of phrasing sometimes would get to me personally, feeling that everything made by a Chinese is poor in quality. Because of this, I had at one time thought of making a decal that says “ handmade by a Chinese”. But not wanting to alienate potential customers and making a combative intention, I had abandoned the idea.

With some of the consumer magazines that I collected during the show, I read an advertisement from Rivendell, a company that is well regarded by a lot of cyclists and people in the bike industry, the ad mentioned about a lot of the features of Rivendell's offering, and the last line says “nothing here's made in China”. It is amazing to see a company who sells products that are mostly made outside of the US to single out China. A country is made up of its people, does it mean Chinese made bad quality? Is it true that Japanese made product is always high in quality? Is it true that European made product is for sure perfect and of high value? How about Taiwan Chinese? Do they make quality products?

This truly befuddles me. China may not be up to the western standards in many front, but products made by China / Chinese are not inherently bad or low in quality. A lot of the companies in China which manufactures a lot of goods that is imported to the US are actually part owned by non-Chinese. What does it say about these business owners? If I were to move back to China, and keep on building frames, would it suddenly mean all my frames are rubbish?

I would really like to question Rivendell if their operation uses or consume anything made in China. I only hope that people can understand that broad stroke labeling can only hurt us. I am also disappointed that a company that so many respected can publicly advertise with such statements.

Well, enough of my rant, I better get back to my workshop and prove that Chinese / China made product can be of high quality. Rose's bike is just done and will be off to paint shortly.