CH — LARRY ROMANOFF — 中国质量病 — 2022年8月15日

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Made in China text on Chinese flag. Horizontal composition with copy space.

The Chinese Quality Disease

中国质量病

 

By Larry Romanoff, August 15, 2022

通过拉里·罗曼诺夫,2022年8月15日

译者:珍珠

CHINESE   ENGLISH

This is a very strange thing. In decades of exposure to Chinese people and in nearly 20 years of living in China, I still cannot understand this nor have I found anyone who can explain it to me. I will provide first a bit of background.

 这是一件非常奇怪的事情。在与中国人接触了几十年,在中国生活了近20年,我仍然无法理解这一点,也没有找到任何人能向我解释。我将首先提供一些背景知识。

It’s no secret that Chinese factories still turn out a large volume of lower-quality goods, although these are not always done the way we would imagine. There are no Chinese salesmen coming to the US to offer Wal-Mart cheap, throwaway frying pans. In real life, Wal-Mart, with its massive purchasing power, sets in advance the technical standards for every product appearing on its shelves. They decide the quality of the metal, the coatings, the fasteners, the quality of the paper for the packaging, everything, then they travel to China to find a factory to produce that specific item at the lowest cost. And they will beat a factory on the head with a stick for a reduction of half a cent. So, for most of the Chinese junk you see in the supermarkets, don’t blame “China”; blame Wal-Mart or others similar. Factories in China are in business to produce whatever a customer wants and will pay for.

 中国工厂仍在生产大量低质量产品,这已不是什么秘密,尽管这些产品并非总是按照我们想象的方式生产。没有中国销售人员来美国为沃尔玛提供廉价的一次性煎锅。在现实生活中,沃尔玛凭借其巨大的购买力,提前为货架上的每一种产品设定了技术标准。他们决定金属的质量、涂层、紧固件、包装用纸的质量等等,然后他们前往中国寻找一家工厂,以最低成本生产特定产品。他们会用棍子打一家工厂的头,减半美分。所以,对于你在超市看到的大多数中国垃圾,不要责怪“中国”;责怪沃尔玛或其他类似公司。中国的工厂生产客户想要的任何产品,并支付费用。

Having said that, there is still a remainder of low-quality goods being made by low-quality factories hiring low-quality people. I suppose that’s life. Maybe it exists in every country, though Germany might be an exception.

 尽管如此,仍有剩余的低质量产品是由雇用低质量人员的低质量工厂制造的。我想这就是生活。也许它存在于每个国家,尽管德国可能是一个例外。

At the top end, China can produce goods of any kind to the highest standards necessary. Almost all the famous European luxury brands have their products made in China, including LV and Mercedes-Benz, and the quality is outstanding. So there are indeed factories in China that can make truly excellent products, second to none.

 在高端,中国可以生产符合最高标准的任何商品。几乎所有欧洲著名奢侈品牌的产品都在中国制造,包括LV和梅赛德斯-奔驰,质量卓越。因此,中国确实有一些工厂能够生产出无与伦比的真正优秀的产品。

Chinese factories make wings for Airbus. I think we can assume the manufacturing standards for these are a bit higher than for the frying pans at Wal-Mart. As well, China designed and manufactured its own moon lander and Mars lander, and they worked flawlessly. Even if you want to pretend that China “stole” the IP for the landers from the US – which they didn’t – looking at a blueprint and actually landing and roving around on the moon, are two very different things.

 中国工厂为空中客车制造机翼。我想我们可以假设这些产品的制造标准比沃尔玛的煎锅要高一点。此外,中国还设计并制造了自己的月球着陆器和火星着陆器,它们工作得完美无缺。即使你想假装中国从美国“偷走”了着陆器的知识产权-他们没有-查看蓝图和实际在月球上着陆和漫游是两件截然不同的事情。

So, Chinese factories are a very large mixed bag that can produce almost anything to (apparently) almost any quality standard necessary. And in all of this, there is no particular “buyer beware” caution. Generally, you get what you pay for; higher quality means higher costs and higher prices. No secrets there.

 因此,中国工厂是一个非常大的混合袋,几乎可以生产任何产品,达到(显然)几乎任何必要的质量标准。在所有这一切中,没有特别的“买家当心”警告。一般来说,你得到的是你付出的;更高的质量意味着更高的成本和更高的价格。这里没有秘密。

But it is in this that I find a strange disease I cannot understand. I will explain.

 但正是在这一点上,我发现了一种我无法理解的奇怪疾病。我会解释的。

In a leather shop in Haining we have a long discussion with the owner to make a leather jacket. We settle on all the details, the price, the timing, and all goes well. The jacket is produced on time, and it is lovely. Beautiful leather, nicely crafted, great stitching, all the cute little pockets. Everything is as it should be, and the jacket wasn’t cheap; many thousands of RMB to produce what was wanted. But the owner thought he would save one dollar and use a really cheap zipper that breaks after a week, and the lovely new jacket is useless until someone replaces the zipper.

 在海宁的一家皮具店,我们和店主讨论了很久,想做一件皮夹克。我们决定了所有的细节、价格、时间,一切都很顺利。这件夹克衫按时生产,很漂亮。漂亮的皮革,精致的工艺,漂亮的缝线,所有可爱的小口袋。一切都是应该的,夹克也不便宜;数千元人民币用于生产所需产品。但店主认为他可以省下一美元,使用一个非常便宜的拉链,一周后就会断裂,而这件可爱的新夹克在有人更换拉链之前是无用的。

We have a lovely new pair of shoes, custom-made, with very fine leather and immaculate craftsmanship. Also very expensive; several thousand RMB. But the owner decides to save ten cents and installs the cheapest pair of shoelaces he can buy. And of course they break the first time they are used so the new shoes are useless.

 我们有一双可爱的新鞋,是定制的,有非常精细的皮革和完美的工艺。也非常昂贵;几千元。但店主决定节省10美分,并安装了他能买到的最便宜的鞋带。当然,它们在第一次使用时就坏了,所以新鞋没用。

We have a pearl farm assemble a string of pearls that is remarkable for the matching of the colors and the quality of the pearls. Color is a difficult thing because hundreds of pearls can be almost – but not quite – the same exact color, so a good farm will sort through literally thousands of pearls to find 50 or 60 that are identical. And the pearls themselves are exquisitely round and flawless, the string again costing in the thousands. But the manager decides to save twenty-five cents and will install the cheapest clasp he can buy. And of course, it breaks after the second use.

 我们有一个珍珠养殖场,收集了一串珍珠,这些珍珠的颜色和质量非常匹配。颜色是一件困难的事情,因为数百颗珍珠可能几乎-但不是完全-相同的确切颜色,所以一个好的养殖场会对数千颗珍珠进行分类,找到50或60颗完全相同的珍珠。而珍珠本身是精美的圆形和无瑕的,细绳的价格也高达数千美元。但经理决定节省25美分,并将安装他能买到的最便宜的扣环。当然,它在第二次使用后会破裂。

I could go on, but you get the idea and you understand the problem. I have seen this in so many categories, where a very fine and expensive product is made to high standards and using the best materials, but where one or two small details are sacrificed that spoil everything. And it isn’t rational. Why, on a $3,000 jacket, would you want to save $1 on a zipper? Why, on a $5,000 string of pearls, would you want to save 25 cents on a clasp? Why would you want to save ten cents on the shoelaces for a $700 pair of shoes?

 我可以继续,但你明白了,你明白问题所在。我在很多类别中都看到过这种情况,一个非常精细和昂贵的产品是按照高标准制造的,使用了最好的材料,但牺牲了一两个小细节,破坏了一切。这是不合理的。为什么,在一件价值3000美元的夹克上,你想在拉链上节省1美元?为什么,在一串价值5000美元的珍珠上,你想在一个扣上节省25美分?你为什么要为一双700美元的鞋子省10美分的鞋带费?

It is the irrationality that puzzles me. It makes no sense. In any product, we generally use a common quality standard for all components. We don’t pack costume jewelry in a $50 box, and we don’t put a $25,000 wristwatch in a Taco Bell paper bag. Except in China.

 让我困惑的是这种非理性。这毫无意义。在任何产品中,我们通常对所有组件使用共同的质量标准。我们不把服装首饰装在50美元的盒子里,也不把25000美元的手表装在塔可钟纸袋里。除了在中国。

Because this seems widespread, or at least not uncommon, I categorise it as some kind of unnamed disease. I don’t think it’s contagious and I don’t believe it’s hereditary, but it isn’t exactly rare, and I am completely baffled as to the cause. The consequences are not fatal, but they are certainly annoying. I cannot fathom the thinking that must underly these actions and, as I said above, I haven’t found anyone who can explain this to me.

 因为这似乎很普遍,或者至少并不罕见,我将其归类为某种未命名的疾病。我不认为它具有传染性,也不认为它是遗传性的,但它并不完全罕见,我对其原因完全感到困惑。后果不是致命的,但肯定令人讨厌。我无法理解这些行动背后的想法,正如我上面所说,我还没有找到任何人能向我解释这一点。

In the end, quality is in the details, but this concept seems to be missing in some portion of Chinese manufacturing. I have a suspicion this trait is related to what we might call ‘old mindset thinking’ from the nation’s poorer days. If so, I would expect this to  change rapidly because the new generation is quite demanding on quality, and surprisingly (to me) unforgiving. A few years back, P&G in China made the mistake of surreptitiously degrading the quality of many of their products while leaving prices the same. Chinese consumers detected the degradation almost instantly and abandoned P&G in droves, flocking back to domestic products they felt offered better value. P&G have been struggling in China ever since. The honeymoon is certainly over for foreign companies in China and I believe the same unforgiving attitudes will now apply to domestic firms.

 最终,质量取决于细节,但这一概念似乎在中国制造业的某些领域缺失。我怀疑这一特点与我们称之为“旧思维”的国家贫困时期的思维方式有关。如果是这样的话,我希望这种情况会迅速改变,因为新一代对质量要求很高,而且令人惊讶的是(对我来说)不宽容。几年前,宝洁在中国犯了一个错误,在保持价格不变的同时,偷偷降低了许多产品的质量。中国消费者几乎立刻察觉到了产品质量的下降,于是成群结队地抛弃了宝洁,转而购买他们认为价值更高的国产产品。此后,宝洁一直在中国苦苦挣扎。在中国的外国公司的蜜月期肯定已经结束,我相信同样的无情态度现在也将适用于国内公司。

*

Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into 32 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology ‘When China Sneezes’. (Chapt. 2 — Dealing with Demons).

罗曼诺夫先生的他的文章被翻译成32种语言,并在30多个国家的150多个外语新闻和政治网站以及100多个英语平台上发表。拉里·罗曼诺夫是一位退休的管理顾问和商人。他曾在国际咨询公司担任高级管理职位,并拥有国际进出口业务。他一直是上海复旦大学的客座教授,向高级EMBA课程介绍国际事务的案例研究。罗曼诺夫先生住在上海,目前正在写一系列与中国和西方有关的十本书。他是辛西娅·麦金尼的新集《当中国打喷嚏》的撰稿人之一。(第一章。2-对付恶魔).

His full archive can be seen at:

他的完整文章库可在以下网址查看:

https://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/ + https://www.moonofshanghai.com/

He can be contacted at:

他可以通过以下方式联系:

2186604556@qq.com

Copyright © Larry RomanoffBlue Moon of ShanghaiMoon of Shanghai, 2022

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