Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Nov. 1, 2007 -- The first thing you need to know about Chinese manufacturers is the first thing they want you to know -- they take product quality very seriously. Any hint or suggestion that the "Made in China" label is synonymous with inferior products is met with a prompt, and sometimes extreme, response.

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When U.S. toy company Mattel Inc. recalled 21 million of its toys and dolls, the immediate culprit appeared to be one of its Chinese suppliers that sprayed excessive amounts of lead paint on some toys (See "How to Avoid a Costly Recall"). The executive of that company ended up committing suicide, an act that apparently is not uncommon among disgraced Chinese officials. U.S. consumers were understandably outraged to think that their children could have been exposed to hazardous levels of lead paint. It seemed possible, at least for a moment, that the U.S. government might insist that Mattel move its factories back stateside, where it would be easier to monitor their production.


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