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Poorly Made in China: An Insider's Account of the Tactics Behind China's Production Game
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Poorly Made in China: An Insider's Account of the Tactics Behind China's Production Game

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4.06  ·  Rating details ·  1,603 ratings  ·  209 reviews
Praise for Poorly Made in China "This fast-paced travelogue through the world of Chinese manufacturing is scary, fascinating, and very funny. Midler is not only a knowledgeable guide to the invisible underbelly of the global economy, he is a sympathetic and astute observer of China, its challenges, and its people. A great read."
--Pietra Rivoli, author of The Travels of a
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Hardcover, 241 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by John Wiley & Sons (first published March 23rd 2009)
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BigM I recommend reading ...at least 2-5 books at the sametime...left side and right side of the brain....

.....Try reading poorly made in china with a year…more
I recommend reading ...at least 2-5 books at the sametime...left side and right side of the brain....

.....Try reading poorly made in china with a year in provence - peter mayle.. ;)(less)

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4.06  · 
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 ·  1,603 ratings  ·  209 reviews


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Petra Eggs
The author of the book is an American who has lived in China for a long time and as he speaks the language is an ideal agent or go-between for American companies and Chinese manufacturers. He relates one example of Chinese cost-cutting that I believe illuminates the whole business ethos of China. A company that has a number of cheap brands of shampoo and similar toiletries that are sold by the big box stores in the States gave a contract with a Chinese company to make them.

One day one of the ret
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Hadrian
Sep 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Excellent case study of what Midler calls 'quality fade' - that is, the steady reduction in quality of a product by continual cost-saving measures such as low-quality ingredients, reducing sanitary standards, cheap packaging, etc. Foreign direct investors wondered how production could be so quick, cheap, and efficient, and if it was 'too good to be true' for manufacturing. And so it was.
Cheap prices are driven by low capital investment and squeezing hard on labor, who still flock to these jobs a
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L.A. Starks
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kate
Jul 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: business readers; global trade readers; narrative nonfiction readers
Shelves: nf
I was expecting something drier, with more statistics. In fact, this is a narrative of the author's experience as a business consultant working with importers from the US and manufacturers in China. It was a pleasant surprise, fast-paced and worth reading.

The ethics (or lack of ethics, to be truthful) and self-serving and/or delusional behavior of both parties in these relationships are on display here - although there are some detours into Chinese culture as well. The author believes he is maki
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Karl-O
Dec 28, 2016 rated it liked it
While I enjoyed the book, I thought it gave a limited glance on the reality of Chinese companies, especially manufacturers. First of all, the book is written from the point of view of low-skill product importers in the USA. That's a valid point of view but doesn't represent everyone who manufacture in China. Besides, the book is written in 2010 and most of the experiences recounted are from the early 2000s. Between now and then, China improved substantially. For example, a reader of the book wou ...more
Noladishu
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing

I just finished Poorly Made in China and wanted to highlight some of my key takeaways in the book. The book recently made The Economist's Book of the year list (Book review - The Economist). Paul Midler has lived in China for over 15 years and worked as an outsourcing consultant for small-to-mid-sized companies on a range of products. He wrote the book because he was shocked at what he saw. The book was written as a response to the string of 2007 Chinese quality scandals (yes, it even it's own W
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Son Tung
Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it
This is an interesting read, many tactics employed by Chinese manufacturers (in this book, shampoo, healthcare products) are similar in daily life in Viet Nam. This is some real good but painfully learnt experiences of the author as a intermediaries between American companies and Chinese manufacturers.
1/ First they welcome you with open arms, sometimes with fake showrooms, previously made products for famous multinational corporations.
2/ They begin to make your products, copy the sample beautif
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Hameed Younis
Jun 22, 2017 rated it liked it
The book is a bit different than I was thinking, The book was telling diaries of the businessman and his experiences with importing and trading in China. It was fun and informative regarding the work there but enough! Nothing more, nothing to be considered or said about the social, cultural and psychological perspectives of Chinese, as the writer wasn't concern about these matters entirely.

كتاب سيرة ذاتية على شكل مذكرات لتاجر امريكي يقيم في الصين لمدة طويلة، يدون فيه تجاربه وخبرته في التجارة وال
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Socraticgadfly
Author Paul Midler, a non-Chinese U.S. native, learned Chinese as an undergrad and eventually got an MBA. Not wanting a stereotypical U.S. finance job, he became a middleman in southeast China's economic heartland -- a middleman between U.S. importers and Chinese manufacturers.

First, many American companies dealing with China are just that -- importers. Their companies never made a thing in America. They're start-up or near start-up entrepreneurs, aglow at the idea of selling cheap made-in-China
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Roseb612
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Roseb612 by: Respekt
Tohle se čte jak detektivka nebo spíš dost drastický thriller - pro Evropana naprosto nepředstavitelné. Samozřejmě člověk ví, že s výrobou v Číně jsou problémy, slýchám to opakovaně i od našich zákazníků, ale že je to až tak velký průšvih, mi opravdu nedošlo. Pojetí vztahu se zákazníkem je naprosto dechberoucí, schopnost ošidit všechno a všechny nemá nikdy konce.

Díky této knize jsem si uvědomila, že pro spoustu firem za outsourcingem do Číny není snaha víc vydělat, ale boj o holé přežití a do t
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Nihkita
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is great if you've lived in China just long enough to start to understand it and in turn hate it. Yes it’s about Chinese manufacturing but any lao wai will have common experiences even if they don't work in manufacturing or business or work at all. It’s got the culture of China, not the nuances, but things Chinese people do that add to the culture gap. This book had such a light tone about it too. It’s not telling you what to do or think its just telling you what happened. For once whe ...more
Lucy
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chystáte se podnikat v Číně anebo o tom třeba jen přemýšlíte, byť malinko? Tak si přečtěte tuto knihu. Je sice staršího dat a věřím, že hodně věcí se už změnilo k lepšímu (alespoň sama sebe přesvědčuji o tom, že to opravdu není až tak zlé), každopádně pointa zůstává stejná. Je o kultuře byznysu v Číně, o tom jak přemýšlejí, jakým způsobem jednají a jak řeší problémy v nejlidnatější zemi na světě. 
Annabelle
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Manufacturing and import is a topic that doesn’t sound exciting. When it’s told through the lens of a culturally sensitive, deadpan narrator it became a really engaging story.
Urban Sedlar
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A shocking look into the Chinese manufacturing phenomenon. The stories described within shed light on the peculiarities of the Chinese character and culture, and at the same time reveal the true ugliness beneath: practically nonexistent business ethics.

The author lives and works in China--as an agent for the US importers; he mediates the entire process of setting up a business and intervenes whenever shit hits the fan, which seems to happen quite often. The book exposes many dirty strategies the
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Dan Watts
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Although I have no first-hand experience with manufacturers in China, I suspect that this book is badly biased.

The author wants to prove that manufacturing standards in China are unusually poor, so gives various examples of nothing but, most of them from the same small company.

As he mentions in passing at the end of the book, a lot of brand name goods are manufactured in China. It's fair to assume that companies like Apple and Johnson & Johnson aren't going to accept low quality manufactur
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Huong
Jun 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Đọc quyển này xong lại nhớ ngày xưa ngô nghê từng hỏi một thằng TQ là sao chúng mày toàn sản xuất hàng kém chất lượng thế. Nó thản nhiên bảo tiền nào của nấy cả. Giống như Tỉ phang vào mặt ông già Bernie: Với giá các ông đang trả, các ông mong đợi cái gì? :))
Shawn  Stone
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
To satisfy the insatiable appetite for plastic crap at bargain prices, it’s no secret that the world’s multinationals look to China to mass produce their trinkets for minimum cost. With a cheap and infinitely replaceable labour supply, minimum government intervention and the ability to skirt environmental responsibilities, what appears to be a capitalist’s wet dream degenerates into a Faustian bargain whereby the Western rules of contract law, product quality and safety standards don’t apply. A ...more
John Pombrio
Feb 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I just found this book fascinating. The way the small factory owners put the squeeze on their customers, the product's quality, and the workers lives harks back to Ebenezer Scrooge or the old robber barons of yore. The complete lack of ethics, oversight, quality control, or environmental responsibility puts China in a poor position to maintain their growth.
The writing is well done in a narrative story following a few customers through the ordeal of moving production to China, finding a manufact
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Patrick Zandl
Jun 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
U nás vyšlo pod názvem Made in China. Z mé vlastní zkušenosti velmi dobrý průvodce světem výrobních a dodavatelských vztahů v Číně, psáno s nadhledem, zaujetím pro detail a humorem. Doporučuju i jako příjemné oddychové čtení. Asi to nejlepší, co jsem v oboru četl a co vychází z praxe, takže pokud nechcete suché seznamy toho, jak má probíhat kontraktáž v čínské fabrice, tady se dozvíte to, co byste se v Číně dozvěděli záhy po příjezdu: kontraktáž nikdy neprobíhá podle seznamu, rozhodně ne podle t ...more
Thing Two
Grrrr ... I'm beginning to wonder if my laptop wasn't manufactured in China. This is my third attempt at a review!

Written at the height of China's toy/dog food/infant formula recall, Paul Midler's Poorly Made in China left me cringing. Please, please, please check the label before you purchase anything you ingest, apply to your skin, or in anyway breathe. If it's made in China, chances are it's not what the label claims it is.

Tommy Tong
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
quick read, extremely eye-opening, essential for buyers of Chinese products - uh, that would be just about everyone in the world!
Raghu
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing


Ever since the breakneck pace of China’s economic development from the 1980s, only the word ‘miracle’ seems to capture what China has accomplished in the past forty years. GDP was galloping at 10-12% per annum and poverty was declining rapidly. New cities and massive projects like highways and high-speed rail are coming up at an unprecedented pace. As if all this is not enough, they produce goods for the world at prices which are at such low levels that even other developing nations like India a
...more
Bon Tom
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Incredible and super fun. It's a festival of moments you're not sure if they should make you laugh in amazement or angry. I can't begin to imagine the stomach and nerves you need to have in order to do business with Chinese, and yet so many people keep doing so. This is also account on how and why exactly they agree to take all the crap from people and system set up to set them up. Great book and masterfully written and skillfully read by the author.
Boni Aditya
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: management, culture
The book throws a light into the Chinese Culture and the various techniques used by Chinese Manufacturers to create an illusion of the Golden Geese, only to realize that the Geese starts laying silver eggs after a while and then finally iron eggs after a few more years into the relationship. This book talks more about persuasion and negotiation techniques used by the Chinese at the bargaining table. It shows how the lack of knowledge of a language could actually used to one's advantage at a disc ...more
Tõnu Vahtra
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book reinforces what I have heard from various people and places about doing business in China. There are many opportunities there but it is by no means easy money for the naive. You have to be conscious to the ways of doing business in China and you have to keep in mind that customer is often not king there. You get exactly what you ask for (at least in your very first order). The European/American direct approach to problem solving also doesn’t work there, in some aspects it’s similar to ...more
Joe
Apr 15, 2011 rated it liked it
The author of this book worked as a facilitator in China, generally helping American importers and Chinese manufacturers come together. It's interesting, and is written by someone in the rare position of having experience and a good understanding of a variety of Chinese businesses and business deals, but I don't think there's really much new insight here for most people.

If the author has one point, it is this: a difference in assumptions about business practices and goals means that people often
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Eva
Jul 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Super fascinating book! In short, the author, a Wharton MBA who serves as an on-the-ground liaison between Western importers and Chinese manufacturers, recounts his experiences with trying to make the process go smoothly. It's amazing to hear how Chinese business culture and ethics differ from ours, and, relatedly, how hard it is for the author and his importer clients to get their products manufactured as agreed upon. The manufacturers are always finding creative new ways to shave off costs and ...more
Tim Jin
Dec 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Unlike reading a feature article from WSJ on manufacturing in China and reading a commentary from an economist, you get a first hand look from Paul Midler doing business. I was afraid that it would be all about bashing the Chinese, but it's interesting on the cultural differences and the insightful views on what is going on in the factories.

We cannot really blame the Chinese at cutting corners at making the products that we use. Just look at your bath towels and most likely it is made in China.
...more
Cwhk
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
I am working with Chinese companies for over 7 years in China. I agree with many points of the author Paul Midler but he is missing some important points and here is a key message:

Mattel's toxic toys scandal
I have seen customers who don't bother about quality certificates.
Push prices to the limit and leave controls away. The supplier who worked with Mattel at this time was Lee Der Industrial. I was lucky enough to meet one of their employees on a train back to Hong Kong.

Zhang Shuhong (Chinese:
...more
Kha Nguyen
Oct 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is well-written and full of practical experiences of the author. The real life stories of the author are what made this book appealing and helpful. Although I have some experience living in China for a while, this book opens a totally whole new horizon for me about the reality behind all the cheap product 'made in china'. When I was in China, I and my friends were always surprised by the cheap prices of clothes, toys, shampoos.. you name it! To be honest, it was good to be able to buy ...more
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My books are to some extent autobiographical, and so details on my life and career are easily discovered. I spent more than two decades living and working in East Asia, working as a go-between in China manufacturing.

"Poorly Made in China" was first published in 2009 and it covers the boom in export manufacturing which began with the end of SARS and which ended (or took a pause at least) with the a
...more
“They believed that the customer's exact wishes mattered only as far as they were necessary to capture the initial order. Beyond that, they figured, what an importer didn't know couldn't hurt it.” 2 likes
“Somewhere along the line, Made in China began to sound like a bargain. (...)
When an importer told a retail buyer that an item was quoted at 65¢ and made in the USA, the buyer figured it could be purchased somewhere cheaper.

When the same product was quoted at 65¢ and was said to have been made in China the buyer figured it could not be found for any less.”
2 likes
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