It was a world gone wrong, one in which manufacturers thought little of manipulating product quality levels in order to save the smallest amounts, where savvy foreign business leaders were made to feel in control while they were taken for a ride by their partners, where entire manufacturing facilities sometimes vanished right into thin air... Welcome to Poorly Made in China!
At the height of the boom export manufacturing, Paul Midler returned to East Asia, a recently graduated Wharton MBA. In the right place at the right time, he was sought out by a number of foreign companies who wanted help in navigating the new economy. The adventures came fast, as did the business and cultural lessons.
Poorly Made in China is a dramatic romp through China's export manufacturing sector, one that reveals what really goes on behind the scenes. The story follows the author from one project to the next, taking the reader through a diverse set of industries and revealing a number of challenges. An engaging business narrative told with doses of humor and insight, this true story pulls back the curtain on the rising Chinese economy, providing a closer look at the rough-and-tumble environment in which so many of our consumer products are being made. For those trying to make sense of why so many quality failures could come out of China at once, this book is an especially interesting read.
Poorly Made in China is the tale of a modern-day gold rush and its consequences, the chronicling of a rising economic power and its path along a steep growth curve. Entertaining and eye-opening, the book highlights the extent to which culture affects business dealings, and the ultimate suggestion is that we may have more to be concerned about than product failures alone.
©2009 Paul Midler; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
Midler is direct, pulls no punches and leaves you with a clear understanding of the hows and whys behind all those news stories you hear of yet another recalled product that was made (poorly) in China. I can truely say, I could'nt put it down and listened every moment I could until the end. Having just investigated a the recall of a life-protecting and China-made spring for Scuba Diving that corroded in salt water, this book made it all clear as to the likely scenario.
Midler worked as a consultant to firms, mostly American, wanting to manufacture in China, and served as a translator/mediator/man-on-the-ground for his American employers. As such he often discovered the ways the Chinese factory owners play various quality games to increase their profits, regardless of contracts, previous understanding, or even what we view as basic safety and quality standards.
His book provides a fascinating view into what goes on in such factories, and the different point-of-view the Chinese manufacturers have of things, both economic and cultural, which make dialogue often difficult and frustrating.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, which was very ably read by Midler himself (a reasonable choice, as he often mentions and explains Chinese words and phrases).
I found only two issues with this book - first, the points he makes are sometimes repetitive, making the same observation twice or more. Some judicious editing would have removed these instances. Second, being mostly a collection of different experiences, the book feels disjointed at times. Though every tale serves a purpose, and Midler ties them together reasonably well, it doesn't feel continuous enough.
These points are minor, though, and did not seriously affect my enjoyment of this enlightening work.
This is more of a memoir than a nonfiction information book. I was really expecting it to be dull but it was fun and fascinating. The author discusses his personal experiences with Chinese manufacturing and his job facilitating the manufacturing. I learned a great deal including how factories can hide worker abuse, why purchasers of goods cannot up and change manufacturers, and how products are changed at the factory to make the manufacturing cheaper despite how the product turns out. Also, I learned why its not as easy to check for bad chemicals and ingredients that might have been substitutued by the manufacturer. This is a good book
An informative as well as interesting book about some current and future crucial international issues, but, in some way, it feels incomplete, as if the author has left - either deliberately or unconsciously - something out of the picture.
My small company has been navigating the China landscape for several years. It is a difficult terrain at best. If you are currently or are considering doing business in China then this book is an absolute must. The author's insight into the inner workings of China are sobering and anyone working with China needs to understand the experience Mr. Midler has achieved. I cannot recommend this book highly enough....get it, devour it, learn from it!
What a great story. The author leaves nothing unanswered. I feel like I took a trip to China with a friend that knows his way around. Anyone who plans to be alive in the next few decades should read this. This book is not just for those planning to do business in China but for anyone who use manufactured goods at all. I can't wait for a part two.
Unlike reading a feature article from WSJ on manufacturing in China and reading a commentary from an economist, you get a first hand look from Paul Midler doing business. I was afraid that it would be all about bashing the Chinese, but it's interesting on the cultural differences and the insightful views on what is going on in the factories.
We cannot really blame the Chinese at cutting corners at making the products that we use. Just look at your bath towels and most likely it is made in China. Consumers wants lower cost in products and companies wants to maximize profit margins. Sadly, these objectives cannot be meet when it says, "Made in USA."
As commodity prices rise, the Chinese has to charge according to meet their margins. They only have the upper hand when it comes to labor. People are like robots over there. If the worker is working too slow, they can replace them within seconds with another Chinese to fill the line and keep producing products.
In the 80's South Korea was notorious of cheap goods and counterfeiting poorly made products, but look at them now. They are surpassing the Japanese in electronics and even in the automotive industry. "Made in China" will have a different stigma as the country progress. The Chinese can make good products, when companies are willing to pay for it, such as Apple. Like the old saying goes, "You get what you pay for." This is true in any business, not only in China.
As China becomes more industrialized, this reading material will be a history of accuracy what the country used to be.
I looked forward to my drives to and from work all week as I listened to Paul's stories about doing business in China. It's an easy listen but at the same time there are very valueable lessons enbedded in this book. If you've ever been curious about Chinese manufacturing and culture then don't hesitate to buy this audiobook!!!
This is the most accurate portrait of business in China I have read. This is a must read if your going to China, or you just started. The Chinese are hard to get, this book helps.
I am listening to this a second time to pick up anything I might have missed. Paul Midler has done an amazing job of explaining the "Chinese perspective" in manufacturing as it relates to doing business with the West. As I am preparing to do business in China, I can't believe the wealth of information I have learned! This is not a "slam" piece on China but, rather, an insightful explanation of the way business is done. This should be required listening for anyone thinking of doing business in China.
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