China Girl – It’s time to stop blaming China for quality issues

This is not likely to be a well loved post. I keep hearing something that’s making me a little crazy, and I have to get it off my chest.

Made in China, Made In Taiwan, Made In India, Made in Thailand. All of these do not have to equal worse quality.

The Far Eastern factories will build to any quality that you want. If you want higher quality, it will cost you more.

I have a laptop made by a Chinese company.  It’s one of the best machines on the market, made by one of the most respected companies who build computer components.  I bought ASUS knowing that they make a quality product.

According to a SMG I talked to, the “German Engineered” Pfaffs (Made in China) and the Made in Germany Pfaffs are no different. He can’t see a quality difference under the hood. (Comparing a 6122 to a Select 3.0) So, at one point at least, who knows if that’s still true, Pfaff did this right. Moved their manufacturing to China, but the quality didn’t suffer. I only have German made Pfaffs here, so I have no point of comparison.

At the end of the day, the people “passing” the quality that’s coming out of the factories are the ones at fault.

Yes. It’s Pfaff, It’s Bernina, It’s Singer, It’s AlphaSew, etc.

They are the ones that said “Yes. This is good enough for my customer.”

They could have said “No, it’s not acceptable that the screw head came off the screw when it was loosened, or that this part is stamped metal, or that these 15 bobbins don’t even fit in a bobbin case, etc.”

But they didn’t.


Profits. Higher profits if you commission it for low $ and sell it for the same or more than before.

Their profits were more important than quality and keeping their customers. Keeping you.

These factories have said “We can build that for that dollar amount, here’s what you get for that.” Then the manufacturer who’s willing to put their name on it OKed it.

If you want better quality, tell your manufacturers that you’re not happy with the quality.

  • Vote with your wallet.
  • Write a letter.  Place a phone call.  Not one that says “Those chinese factories didn’t build this right”.  Tell them that you expect higher quality for the dollar that you’ve spent on their product.

If enough people say no to the disposable society, it will have to change eventually.

I think it’s time to stop making “Made in China” sound like a racial slur.  (i.e. “It’s made in China, what do you expect?”)  And no, I don’t go out of my way to buy Chinese made product, but I don’t dismiss it out of hand either, just because it’s Chinese made.  I do my research and find out if the quality of the product is what I expect, and then make my purchase.

This post brought to you by David Bowie – China Girl

8 thoughts on “China Girl – It’s time to stop blaming China for quality issues”

  1. It’s true. Back in the 60’s (when I was a kid), Made in Japan was synonomous with badly fitting, poor quality. Then it was Made in Hong Kong then Made in Taiwan. Regarding sewing machines, my family favour the Japanese built Kenmores. Sturdy, well built, models from the 70’d and early 80’s included stretch stitches and buttonholes for garment sewing. Repairs are predictable and affordable. We also have Singers and an Elna, but pld Kenmores do it every time.

    1. It’s funny, growing up in the 80s the way I did, It was Taiwan that “manufactured crap” but it never seemed so prevalent as now that people will talk about it as much as talking about the weather.

      Kenmores are some of my favorite machines to service regardless of the manufacturer – even the Janome made machines which sort of fall into the too new to be likable by a vintage fanatic category. I rarely have anything major go wrong with them. The worst I’ve had and it was the most recent one I serviced is that bobbin winder stop had lost a nut and it fell inside the machine. So, after fishing that out, for some reason it didn’t fit the screw (I suspect someone switched out the original screw) so I had to find a replacement. It came from my “general household miscellaneous parts and where the heck are those screws, nuts and bolts from” bin.

      1. “It came from my “general household miscellaneous parts and where the heck are those screws, nuts and bolts from” bin.”
        I have one of those, and I’ve started calling it the “magic box”. It always saves us! (knock on wood) I think “normal” people throw away miscellaneous screws but I can’t bear to, especially if they’re brass. The box is small but in the past few months we’ve found old machine screws that work in our “vintage” faucet valves. We always seem to need them on Sunday nights and the box saves the day.

        About China, I think you’re right that everyone talks about it now and I think it’s because so many things are made there. It almost seems like everything is made there. More and more stuff is being made in S.E Asia but China still dominates. My recollection of Hong Kong, though was that their clothing was high-end. And certainly now the vintage clothing I find from Hong Kong is always good quality. I have found plenty of crappy textiles made in the USA. We tend to think of vintage as automatically being good quality but when I was a kid my mother told me that I should always reinforce buttons and inspect garments for loose stitching before I wear them. I don’t do that anymore.

        1. Dang, I can’t seem to get my handles straight. I’m not intentionally trying to confuse anyone. I don’t comment much and I’ve unwittingly registered several accounts (wordpress, google+, etc.) for commenting on blogs.

        2. You know, I haven’t reinforced much lately either. Either it falls apart after a couple of washes and I throw it away in disgust, or it’s good for life. I also think we have better access to higher quality – or maybe my “You’re freaking kidding, you want how much for a dress shirt!?!?” threshold is higher now – some of the designer stuff at Winners for instance is way better built than a lot of the vintage that I remember.

  2. Well said! It was true back in the day, too, when Japanese goods were considered inferior. Sony and Nikon were great (and I’m sure other brands I don’t know about), and of course sewing machines. You could by an off-brand crappy radio or pay more for a Sony that still works today. Some of the off-brands were pretty good, too.

  3. When I was growing up I remember people saying the exact same things about stuff made in Japan. Now I’m looking for sewing machines that were produced during that era.
    I agree with you, completely.

    1. Thanks Anastasia! It’s sort of a controversial subject, but I really think it bears noting. 😉 I think the Japanese made some excellent machines back in the day. Heck, My 2008ish Juki isn’t too bad either.

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