“CHINA” PRODUCT – What Does it Really Imply?
Below is a conversation between a buyer and a seller at Alaba International Market, OjoAlaba
Buyer – Oga I wan buy generator
Seller– We get am na, which KVA you want?
Buyer – Na 3900Kva, the one wey fit carry Freezer, TV, and all the light weydey for my house. You no
say President Jona no dey try at all as light no deydeyna.
Seller–I get am na, na me be Ogbuefi the importer, come see this one
Buyer – No give me “CHINA” generator oooohh, I no fit shout
Seller – Ok, Oga you want ORIGINAL one, oya see am,na 150, 000 naira last
Buyer – Noooona where you see 150, 000 naira, since wey we begin dey receive “fresh” air weyJona
promiseus na so him government carry the whole money dey buy the fresh air from China
(laughs). No money abeg. How much be the “CHINA” generator?
Seller – Ogana 50 000 naira gaskiya, make I use am do you customer.
Buyer – Oya write receipt na, make I dey go house. I don tire for the kainmockery wey I dey get from one of my neighbour wey him name naMaku
The statement above is a typical business conversation between a buyer and seller in major markets in Nigeria especially Alaba International Market, OjoAlaba which is about the largest electronic market in West Africa. The term “China” in Nigeria is synonymous to a fake or “shouty” product hence “china phone”.
Twenty (20) years ago my father bought a generator for family use from Alaba International Market. Though quite unbelievable, thisYamaha 650 generator is still functional till now and hasn’t been serviced for more than 3 times till date. Now that should be an original generator. Today it is “hard” to find a generator that can last you for at least 2 years. This is also the case of many products that we use today in Nigeria. The Nigerian market is saturated with the so called “China” product.
But come to think of it, does China make fake products? China is referred to as “the ‘leading dragon’ of the world economy” by Lin (2011) and is the largest exporter of goods with 9.6% of the global share1. Some authors have described how the composition of growth in China, particularly high investment rates that support industrialization and urbanization; have contributed to a large and growing demand for commodities (Yu, 2011)2. If “China” products are fake, then that means United States and all the rest of the world should be littered with fake products. Let’s look at the analysis below to buttress some points.
- China produced 19.8 percent of all the goods consumed in the world during 20103.
- During 2010, United States spent $365 billion on goods and services from China3.
- China now possesses the fastest supercomputer on the entire planet3.
- China now has the world’s fastest train and the world’s most extensive high-speed rail network3.
- China is now the number one producer of wind and solar power on the entire globe3
- In 2010, China produced more than twice as many automobiles as the United States did3
The statistics above does not represent a country that produces fake products. In many developed and developing countries, “made in China goods” simply means what it states so it doesn’t have anything to do with fake products. In fact China consumes most of her products hence cannot produce fake products for over 1 billion of its population. Imagine if the extensive and light speed railways in China are fake, then railway accidents would be in the same proportion as government looting and corruption in Nigeria. Then the question is does “china” productsbeing referred to as fake products a Nigerian definition? The next few paragraphs would buttress that.
The truth remains that the Nigerian markets were once home to original goods until Nigerians couldn’t pay its worth. Maybe it was the economy or maybe it was the decrease in the value of Naira in the global market which affected its purchasing power or maybe it’s the greed of sellers. The influx of fake goods into Nigeria or our own implied “china products” was a case of demand and supply and the value of Naira cum purchasing power. Nigerians wanted goods that they could afford, the economy grew worse, standard of living got lower and then fake goods were provided. All the importer had to do was to go back to China and inform the manufacturers of what Nigerians want or what our money could afford. This oftenled to the reduction of the quality of materials used in producing the goods that comes to Nigeria so that we can afford it. So the case is that China producescustomized low quality product for the Nigerian consumers.
Another factor that enabled the influx of “chinko” products into Nigeria was the inability of our Consumer Safety Regulation Agencies to control the quality of goods imported into the country. For instance there are various agencies in America (e.g. FDA, EPA, DOT, CPSC, FTC etc)4 that ensures that substandard goods don’t get into the country. Now the question is how effective have agencies like Standard Organization of Nigeria been? Standard Organization of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP) was introduced in 2005 by the Federal Government to address the challenges of incessant influx of substandard and fake products into the country. Every shipment of goods into Nigeria is expected to be verified by SONCAP including testing to ascertain its standard. The implication is that our so called “china” products should not be seen in our markets if truly SON is effective. Also the anti-dumping policy in Nigeria has never been applied.
This article seeks to correct certain notions by making these postulations
- China does not produce fake products so when next you see a “made in China” goods, it doesn’t imply that it’s fake. The laptop I used in typing this article was brought in from Canada but was made in China and its original. More than half of the goods in Walmart are “made in China” goods. Nigeria imports almost all of the broad categories of products from China5. Almost everything is “made in China” now including the toothpick that you use sometimes (God bless Nigeria).
- The fake “made in China” products that we see in Nigeria was demanded by Nigerians. The quality of the products has been suited to what our money could buy. So Nigeriansinadvertently demanded for fake “chinko” products and who else could help us if not the most ‘benevolent’ ‘technology-advancing” China.
- The way we rate “made in China goods” also affect importers. Most importers are influenced to import goods from China but with “made in USA” inscription on it. So you buy a product “made in China” thinking it’s from USA of which you would be hoodwinked to buy it at a higher price.
- On the other hand our consumer safety regulation agencies like SON are to be blamed for allowing these products get into Nigeria. They are primarily responsible for the saturation of substandard goods from China into Nigeria markets.
- The good news is that there are “made in china” original goods in the market especially in Alaba International Market. Customers must insist on buying original goods despite their price.This will encourage importers to increase the standards of the goods they import.
So when next you see a “made in china” goods, it does not necessarily mean it’s a fake product. Even the government we run in Nigeria is “made in China” and a fake one at that because it’s not working. Our Government can also create an enabling environment for local production and patronage while the SON and other related agencies are restructured to be proactive in their responsibility in checkmating the importation of fake “made in China” goods into Nigeria.
The @AIOMarketPlace is a New Social Media effort geared to help buyers get original goods from importers at best prices in Alaba International Market. We also engage in home delivery and can be contacted for market survey and supply.Our goal is provide the much needed service to customers in the largest electronics market in West Africa.
- Lin, J. (2011). China, the ‘leading dragon’ of the world economy.Retrieved February 22, 2013, from http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15861161
- Roache, S. (2011). China’s Impact on World Commodity Markets. IMF Working Paper WP/12/115
- Synder, M. (2012). 47 Signs That China Is Absolutely Destroying America. Retrieved February 22, 2013, fromhttp://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-02-01/home/31011716_1_china-trade-deficit-chinese-economy/
- Bryant, D. (2012). Consumer safety Regulations and other Agency Requirements. Retrieved February 22, 2013, from http://chineseimporting.com/2012/05/19/consumer-safety-regulations-and-other-agency-requirements/
- Adewuyi, A. (2010). Impact of China-Africa Trade Relations: The Case of Nigeria. Final Report to the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), Nairobi, Kenya.
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