I'm inside the real Apple Store in Chengdu and right outside are hawkers selling great quality fake equivalents for up to 70% off the RRP! No one can stop them...amazing...they're cheeky enough to sit right on the doorstop of the Apple Store and hawk customers as they come out of the Apple Store...some even go back inside to get a refund and buy the fake!!
It is safe to say that the majority of the world has come to accept that China is not cheap anymore. However, there are still some people who treat her as a country that is made up of sweatshops. Those people are living in the past because this country has developed quickly.
While there may be some local companies that would be considered as a typical 'sweatshop', the majority of factories that are foreign owned and operated are a far cry away from the 'sweatshop' image that many Westerners may have of factories that manufacture your 'Made in China' goods.
I was fortunate to have been given a behind the scenes tour of a factory that produces bottles and nasal sprays for the medical/retail industry. It was by no means a sweatshop. This particular factory (which I am not allowed to name for legal reasons) had pool tables, air conditioned rooms, air purifying shower rooms for all the staff, healthy complimentary food (3 meals a day), and even a yoga room that serves as an after-work centre of reflection for overburdened employees.
The Taiwanese company Foxconn is responsible for manufacturing the majority of Apple Corporation's products. Their manufacturing plant in Bantian (Shenzhen) which makes the majority (over 90%) of your favorite Apple products is perhaps the most advanced plant I have seen anywhere - I can only talk from experience as as a former Electronic Engineer who used to work in wafer fab plants in the U.K. and China - Foxconn is no less to them.
As China becomes expensive and as her economy continues to increase at a respectably dizzying pace, I personally believe that the amazing twist would be when the world starts to really feel the strength of the Renmenbi (I think it is already hurting the Pound and the US Dollar).
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