Not Made in, Made For China


For those of us in the United States, China is the place that makes the stuff we buy. What if that was to change?

China, brimming with a population of over 1.3 billion, started buying with a vengeance? What if China became the place that manufacturers looked for their cues?

That question is quickly turning from a what-if to a how-soon. Hundreds of millions of Chinese want the sorts of things we want — from televisions and washing machines to bottled water and organic food — and more and more of them are turning those wants into purchases. China’s annual consumer spending is now around $4 trillion; though still only half the US figure, it is already a bigger consumer economy than Japan and close to that of the European Union. China is now the world’s largest consumer in a number of categories, including beer, cigarettes, and — remarkably — cars. Some Western automakers have begun skipping US and European markets and debuting models in China first.

Photo by Wilm Ihlenfeld/ShutterStock.

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