Made In China = Bad?
For the observant, you’ll notice that a ton of computers are made in the nation of China these days. This is occurring so much that some people absolutely refuse to buy anything made from there, similar to the all-too-familiar MADE IN TAIWAN labels on so many products of the 1980s and 1990s.
On the computing front, many refer to Chinese-made computers as "those Foxconn-made pieces of sh*t".
The Mac mini, Macbook Air, Macbook, iMac and Macbook Pro are all manufactured in China. For those who have ever ordered one of the aforementioned direct from the Apple Store and had it shipped to you, you’ll notice the shipping process starts (the last I knew) from Shanghai.
The Dell mini 10v I just bought has a MADE IN CHINA sticker slapped on the back of it. Other Dell models follow suit.
It is totally possible (and this is a guess) that Dell and Apple PCs/laptops are manufactured right in the same city – and possibly even the same buildings.
Still think Apple-branded computers are better than Dell-branded now?
As to why so much of our computer stuff is made there, the answer is simple: Cost. It costs less to have electronics made there than in a Western nation (and yes, this also leads to serious e-waste problems in China).
The question however is this: Is a Chinese-manufactured computer "bad"? No, because it all boils down to design and manufacturing processes.
If a laptop has a bad design that’s been finalized and sent to production, the end result will be a crappy product no matter where it’s made.
Example 1: The Macbook (not the Macbook Pro). It is commonly called a Crackbook. Why? Because of a design flaw in the palm rest that literally causes the unit to crack even when just sitting there neatly on a table with it running – even if was never dropped, never abused, etc.
(Side note: Apple still sells this same model with the same design flaw. It can be fixed under warranty, but if your warranty runs out, you’re screwed.)
Example 2: The exploding batteries in Dell laptops that happened a few years ago which prompted a massive recall. It wasn’t the laptop that was the problem here, but guess where the battery was made?
Even with these examples, I don’t deem a product "bad" based on where it was made. I have owned several Chinese-made electronics products over the years. One company which I know has a major manufacturing plant in China that is Behringer – and I like Behringer products. A lot. That’s because they manufacture solid well-designed stuff.
If you’re going to blame anybody for poor quality computer stuff, blame the brand (like Apple, Dell and/or Foxconn). They don’t need to move their manufacturing facilities elsewhere, they just need to more thought into design for better electronics products.
What do you think?
Does the country of origin concerning where your computer stuff was made affect your purchasing decision?