Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Is China the new United States? Maybe

Over a hundred years ago (1902), the British witnessed the "made in the US" tsunami:
The average citizen wakes in the morning at the sound of an American alarum clock; rises from his New England sheets, and shaves with his New York soap, and Yankee safety razor. He pulls on a pair of Boston boots over his socks from West Carolina, fastens his Connecticut braces, slips his Waterbury watch into his pocket and sits down to breakfast . . . Rising from his breakfast table the citizen rushes out, catches an electric tram made in New York, to Shepherds Bush, where he gets into a Yankee elevator, which takes him on to the American-fitted railway to the city. At his office of course everything is American. He sits on a Nebraska swivel chair, before a Michigan roll-top desk, writes his letter on a Syracuse typewriter, signing them with a New York fountain pen, and drying them with a blotting sheet from New England. The letter copies are put away in files manufactured in Grand Rapids. (Source: The Grand Pursuit, by Silvia Nasar.)
And that was even before Ford's invention of the mass-production method!

The similarity with today's Chinese products in the US is uncanny. Except for the infrastructure, services,  and experiences, most of the stuff we use in our everyday lives is made outside of the US. Despite this production-consumption pattern, there's no Chinese brands among the top 100. Since branding is based on recognition, I bet, if they changed their alphabet or started using westernized name brands they would dominate markets for consumer products and services much sooner. (American and British names are very close and the psychological barrier to consumer adoption is extremely low).
tags: psychology, market, distribution, experience

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