Go to Petticoat Lane, London. It was famous for its rag trade. In the 70s and eighties, it was the the place to get surplus lace, and designer textiles.It was the cockney heartland where one would be able to get pickled eels, listened to banters in thick cockney. Now you see a new breed of cockneys, the bangla cockney. There is even a book titled salaam from Brick Lane. Now the charm is in its good smelling curries. The goods sold at the once famous petticoat Lane Market are the china made stuff.
Visit Portobello road London, the famous antique market on Saturday. It is still an interesting market to visit. You see buskers, west Indian steel band, a jazz quartet, stall after stall selling old maps, trivias and other antiques. It stretches for a good two kilometres. If you visit it regularly, like I do, you will notice that the stalls selling china made goods seem to be getting more and more significant.
In Tawau, there is the “pasar gantung’, the hanging market where china made goods hang on every piece of nails and hangers.
Visit the African market in Paris. Ask those coming home from their pilgrimages in Mecca for souvenirs. You will get prayer rugs and prayer beads made in China.
The same scene is repeated in Jakarta. Surprisingly I did not notice it in Bangalore. Two weeks ago I bought a cigar torch for USD3 or the equivalent of RM 10. A year a go I parted with USD 100 for a made in England Cigar torch. THe Made in England torch worked fine for a good one month after which it started giving problems. Now it is the China made torch that is serving me well.
How liberting it is to be empowered by greater purchasing power. Thanks to that manufacturing giant CHINA. How liberting it is to the peasants who could now afford a 29inch TV, as it cost only RM 200. Compare that to the amount Kumar chaufer and my newfound friend in Bangalore who has to fork out rupees 8000 or RM 800 for a made in india tv SET. A made in china moped is being sold for USD 60 in Jakarta. China has indeed empowered the masses.
It is however bad news if you are about to start a manufacturing plant doing consumer items. There is no way you could compete, unless your goods are specially engineered, best or first in the world. Even then it is no assurance that it is not going to be sold in China under a different name. You can get a Ferarri look a like at a fraction of the Made in Italy Ferarri.
Capitalism gets its match? Capitalism China style? I like it.