- Ordered a brand product and gotten an obvious fake from China. Not good.
- Ordered a brand product, got something that had obviously been opened and used before.
- Searched for something, found only hundreds of mostly identical Chinese generic products. Ordered one, was complete and utter garbage.
- Searched for something, found hundreds of mostly identical Chinese generics. Ordered one, and it was actually pretty decent! Sadly, this happens less often.
Overall, I only buy electronic stuff on Amazon if it is cheap and/or no product with domestic (EU) assembly and QA exists.
If it is a large purchase, or one which may put me, my family or the house in any sort of danger, I would never, ever trust Amazon anymore. I buy it directly or from a store that sources directly from the producer.
Additionally, you pretty much have to buy stuff which you wouldn't bother to send back, because these things usually go nowhere.
Edit: Oh and don't get me started on the reviews. I just to look at them. Now, they are mostly fake, especially for these Chinese generic brands.
I am convinced that some of these generic brands just receive the products that got sorted out of some real brand QA process and sell them anyway.
Also I'm coming across a lot more garbage brands on Amazon that I'm having trouble plowing through to find what I want.
It doesn't help that Amazon seems to be pushing me to buy a lot of garbage too with their suggestions, their own promoted sales, and etc. It feels like there is a very Wallmart type push for "hey this is 30 cents cheaper and look at all these reviews (fake, or by morons)!"
Prime Day seems more like a garage sale than anything else ...
I'm constantly seeing promotions for highly questionable health products / supplements...
Lots of wrong categorized products that seem like spam almost.
I feel like not just a lot of garbage but fewer quality products. I wanted a good HDMI switch, but all Amazon has are inexpensive (granted I have a couple and they're "ok") but not great switches and that is it. They really want me to buy these flimsy things that are all the same with these tiny annoying remotes.
Oddly enough for me Amazon was a route to find a variety of BETTER quality things than I might find in a store, it is becoming harder to do that now.
In the meantime, I've recently been experimenting with buying from other vendors for things I normally buy though Amazon, and with which I'd had trouble: particular brands of clothing, computer parts, water filter cartridges.
I've also been trying brick&mortar, and anecdotal results so far are that it's so-so or bad for selection, good for assessing quality and expected item and condition, and good for lead time.
Separate from browsing store inventory in-person, in-store pickup of online orders is consistently poor-to-ridiculously-bad so far (5 out of 5 times). The anecdotally worst major retailer thus far is surprising.
(Incidentally, I also realized, given the distinctive look of the Walmart shipping box in the lobby of a condo building of about 100 people, that I'd never noticed any of my neighbors buying from Walmart before. I suppose there's some stigma and general objection to Walmart to overcome, though Amazon hasn't been doing so great on reputation either in the last couple years. My two Walmart orders thus far have been wholly positive experiences.)
Clothes, shoes virtually all can be bought directly from the manufacturer (well the brand owner.)
E-commerce outside of Amazon has improved greatly. I can’t even think of the last time I had a problem ordering from another e-commerce site besides Amazon. I order food from lots of different sites and I wouldn’t dare do that from Amazon anymore.
Heck, I've had Best Buy associates whip their phone out and price check something without me even asking. I was super surprised because "don't price match unless the customer asks" would be the easiest thing for management to push for.
I increased my loyalty a bit after seeing that.
Shady to say the least.
People frequently mistake a similar but not identical product and ask for the better product for the price of the lessor. Ex foobar-a is 199 and foobar-b is 179 at both current store and amazon. Customer searches for foobar on amazon and demands the foobar-a in hand for 179, the price of foobar-b on both merchants.
People google search a vague search term like foobar. This completely avoids bothering to discriminate between new identical products, used junk, data wherein google is just wrong about the price, auctions, sales in which the price is theoretically better but the shipping is adjusted up instead of raising the price. Ex: $20 with $30 shipping. This is usually a great indication of a scam because the shipping is non refundable.
This is especially annoying when the customer is in line with a bunch of other customers staring daggers at their back. Especially fun when its an item from the current store that is obviously not identical and the customers phone informs them that this product is not sold in stores. One wonders how they think they came to have it in their hands.
Even in the case where the product is billed as a new in box item sold by random bob34343 its truly NOT an identical transaction.
Imagine you are buying foobar for $99. What you are receiving is a handy retail environment in which to come pick up the item immediately with staff with a minimum level of knowledge on hand to help you find and select your merchandise not to mention unload, order, clean, maintain and manage the environment needed for this to happen even if you prefer to select your own.
If the same product is available from Amazon for $89 with "free" (that you pay for monthly) 2 day shipping, that actually takes 3-4. You are paying slightly less for that item but you are receiving it days later from a less reputable seller that is MUCH more likely to screw you over wherein replacement if something is wrong will take at least another 4 day turn around before you have a working product in your hands.
If you are standing in the store with the product in your basket you are tacitly acknowledging that the above that the in store experience, ability to exchange or return in store, the trustworthiness of the merchant is actually worth $10 and indeed none of those things are free to the merchant.
You just want to have your cake and eat it too.
Whose cake am I eating exactly? Best Buy is being rewarded for value and trustworthiness and Amazon loses out even though I'm a Prime member due to their recent failings. Its the market doing its self-correcting market things.
The point is that its cheaper on average Amazon to ship a 1000 ps4s of which 100 are used and 50 are broken than it is for best buy to maintain a retail presence and sell 1000 actually new ps4s.
You are insisting on the superior product but only willing to pay the cost of the inferior one.
This is only sustainable in terms of throughput at checkout or monetarily because most people unlike you aren't willing to do this with everything they purchase.
It's like a person that finds something to complain about regarding their meal to get free food. If everyone did it then either the restaurant would go out of business or they would stop giving away free food.
Costco does this. Everything sold in costco is super high quality best of breed.
> - Ordered a brand product, got something that had obviously been opened and used before.
> - Searched for something, found only hundreds of mostly identical Chinese generic products. Ordered one, was complete and utter garbage.
> - Searched for something, found hundreds of mostly identical Chinese generics. Ordered one, and it was actually pretty decent! Sadly, this happens less often.
Well, that's a daily life experience in China. Globalisation works both ways...
You have to cultivate your intuition. I have no idea how one gets it, but it helps.
I'm shopping on Aliexpress since it opening in 2010, I see that for me Aliexpress is an "easy shopping experience," but for people from my college class shopping there unending frustration. Somehow, they got an almost natural talent getting into trouble with scam deals.
Amazon was, before it got flooded by Chinese goods, quite useful.
But rarely can I not wait a few days for my product, if it is not available locally.
Case in point, when I did need something from Amazon per morning express, it did not arrive until one day later. I got a refund for the shipping, but I had to buy the thing elsewhere.
Amazon's use to me is declining more and more. I already did cancel my prime...
This is my biggest problem with Amazon now and why I use it less and less.
Edit: Oh, you mentioned this as well in your edit.
One long-term challenge for Amazon will be not becoming a flea market of low-grade, generic ‘stuff’. Brands want to cut the middle-man and sell direct. You see similar things happening with big media: studios don’t want to have someone else distribute their experience. Plus, they don’t want to lose having direct access to their customers. But, without the brands, what will Amazon sell?
Edit: the Brand filter would work, except if there are more than five or six brands it dumps you in a huge directory of brands that you can't search, and you can only select one at a time. It's been that way for like ten fucking years! The only thing that would explain such incompetence is some kind of dark pattern.
I’m sure there are also great shops for the items you’re looking for.
Now that I've largely stopped shopping on Amazon over the past six months, I've come to realize that a lot of retailers have really upped their game in the in-store-inventory-online space. I really enjoy the process of browsing online, reading some reviews and knowing what's in stock in the store, then stopping by in person to check out a couple of options and walking away with the product in hand. Some big stores even have bay/bin/aisle numbers on their websites so you can find things quickly. Better than two day shipping in my book.
The French Press category is awful for this, for example.
They're essentially the same problem since inventory can get mixed together. You could have fake Nike shoes from a 3rd party seller mixed in with Amazon's Nike inventory.
Even 3rd party sellers complain about having their inventory tainted by other 3rd party sellers who send in counterfeits.
– Alana Semuels, The Atlantic
^ 40% of merchants are in China but the percentage of goods made in China is likely much higher maybe like 75%.
I’ve done small-scale importing from China for a retail business. The quality of the product you receive is generally related to whether the seller is concerned with repeat business in the future.
I do the same with ties. If I need a specific color for a wedding party and I never plan on wearing it again, to China/Amazon I go. A single tie from my much smaller “I’m definitely going to wear this repeatedly” collection costs more than the ten others I’ve purchased from Amazon. The cheap Amazon ones are practically falling apart after two parties, but it doesn’t matter because that second party wasn’t part of the plan. My upside is saving a few hundred dollars on ties I won’t wear.
The core problem is rather huge currency imbalance. Anything done in US, including quality assurance, is hugely expensive. The Gap has to pay massive executive and retail employee salaries in dollars and have stores with rent in dollars. The currency imbalance benefits merchants on one side and consumers on other side.
Xiaomi and Huawei make phones that are quite comparable in quality to any of the established western and Korean brands; Xiaomi also apply their brand to a lot of very good electronic stuff that's very good value - electric scooters, air purifiers, smart home equipment etc. Rigol and Aneng make consistently good test equipment at a fraction of the price of western equivalents. Japanese brands used to dominate the radio control hobby industry, but they have been almost completely displaced by Chinese brands.
Surely you mean in their race to survive in a bona fide market environment with low barriers to entry, low product differentiation and no switching costs to customers, right?
'Cause the alternative was to throw in the proverbial towel and close up shop.
It wasn't innate greed that caused jobs to move overseas – it was the end of the Cold War, the advent of instantaneous communications and significant leaps in logistics processes and technologies.
I'm not judging the companies. It's more a statement about American consumers who (probably like everyone else in the world) always care more about price than where the good is made (and things correlated to that, like labor laws, toxicity, etc.).
The companies simply followed their guidance. But, I would assert that these companies didn't fight that hard to keep ownership of their manufacturing, and it was a profit decision, and all that has put them in a difficult position.
It's easy for a six-figure income earner to "buy local", but sadly, low-income workers are the ones most inclined to buy cheap goods produced abroad. In doing so they contribute to wage stagnation that disproportionately hurts them, while boosting profits to capital holders – who also happen to pay capital gains taxes and not income tax... – creating this perverse feedback loop.
Unfortunately, as an armchair economist I don't see a Real Solution – maybe you need Real Economist for that.
Whatever the solution may be, it doesn't seem we're doing much more currently than hunkering down and hoping wage gains abroad eventually lead to less inequality between US workers and third-world country workers so that the economics of offshoring invite companies to place jobs back in their home countries.
I literally have trouble sleeping at night thinking about this (combined with a fear of perpetual economic stagnation in Europe which I don't think we talk about often enough)
They've got nothing too.
When you buy a $4 bikini you are taking a quality-related risk though, and a lot of the time, shoppers are correctly aiming for quantity, not quality. Personally, if I buy a $4 anything direct from China I know I'm taking that quality risk, but it's prospective risk: Periodically I want to broaden my horizons and check to see whether I'm being gouged or not, or just see if I can let my buddies know about something that is worth it at a surprisingly low cost. Given a product category that's been around for a while, that's important if you'll be buying a lot of stuff in that category.
I do this sometimes with simple electronic components, antennas, things like that. However in most cases the original/heavy-QA item is obviously way better, and in the case of electronics, maybe it's made in the _exact_ same factory, but the firmware, materials, and overall quality is simply worlds ahead of the afterthought/low-QA product. Yaesu released the FT-4X and FT-65 radios which are a great example of this, made in the same factory but far superior to the Chinese-brand radios (I own both and use them frequently). Nagoya and Comet and Diamond antennas "can" be cheaply replicated but surprisingly given such simple parameters, the result is periodically complete junk.
But much of the time, it's not complete junk. It's in the middle somewhere.
So the question becomes: Would I like "good enough" and _three of them_ (like three antennas for several radios), or "best on the market" and one of them. I personally find that I have some "best of market" needs like participating in a local emergency exercise, and in other cases maybe I just enjoy a low-key hobby and having access to just-OK equipment means I can string multiple devices together and have some broad-minded fun as opposed to the deeper, quality-focused type.
IMO it's good for consumers to know about both mindsets, and yet I think many more do get this than the HN crowd will credit. American companies were also warned of this shift long ago and a lot of them sure seem to be doing OK maintaining their competitive advantage. We are now in the information age and America is a cultural-informational dominator.
You think they could sell just as much product to the American market using cheapflashlight.cn ? Come on..
See companies like Suitsupply, for example.
This being said there's a movement back to locally made in the US and Europe in the mid/upper range. The customer "connoisseurship" culture eventually made people more aware of things like fabrication quality, its relation to price and the trappings of branding.
You can have a lot of garbage come from Aliexpress and still come out ahead.
It's interesting to see how brands are positioned differently in different markets. IIRC, Stella Artois is the PBR of the UK, but without the hipster cool, while it's relatively premium in the US.
Other places, Walmart might be pretty good.
I've bought counterfeit books from Amazon where the text bleeds due to poor inks. As well as low-quality paper from "international edition" textbooks instead of the high-quality paper I'm used to. Worse yet: a counterfeit copy likely is "pirated goods", where the Publisher / author don't get the money. (The main point of buying books is to support the author, more so than perhaps the text itself). It was fine when I was a student and needed to save money, but my personal library has no use for bleeding books printed on poor quality paper. I only have two bookshelves (for books) in my house, I don't have enough room to keep all the low-quality books.
Branded goods are often slightly miscategorized or mislabled on Amazon. I'm talking 2300mAh Energizer AA vs 2400 mAh Energizer AA. In these cases, I was trying to match up battery packs for electronics, where its very important to get matching NiMHs, but the Amazon Marketplace merged the two battery types ("close enough" isn't good enough for me). I now buy my electronics products from Adafruit / Digikey, two stores which understand the importance of documentation and precise SKUs. Commodity AA NiMHs I buy from Home Depot, which have been properly labeled in my experience.
Finally, Walmart prices are actually pretty fine, and sometimes beat Amazon's. A good example this past month was when I bought a Cast-iron skillet.
I made sure to shop around for the lowest price, and lo-and-behold, Walmart was cheaper.
> You can have a lot of garbage come from Aliexpress and still come out ahead
Do you trust the preseasoning of a Cast Iron skillet to a cheap no-name company? I guess if you're planning to strip the cast iron skillet of its seasoning and you're going to oil it up with Flax Seed oil yourself... its hard to get the "Cast Iron" part wrong. Its the pre-seasoning process that you're buying in this case.
Lodge's pre-seasoning isn't the best, but its type and quality is well listed and documented: Soybean Oil (http://www.lodgemfg.com/use-and-care/what-is-seasoning) . That's good enough for most people, and its probably too much of a bother for most people to find higher-quality oils and season the pans themselves.
Buying the brand-name has benefits. Final bonus points: Lodge Cast-iron is still made 100% in America, for those who care about that little detail. But the brand name trust is a benefit.
There's lots of people who review and discuss Lodge's choice of pre-seasoning, so its a well known constant. Buying no-name brands on Alibaba is a risk: you pretty much have to do quality-control yourself.
Perhaps I'm obsessing too much over the quality of a $20 pan. But frankly, if I can't trust the pan's quality in my kitchen, its complete garbage to me. I have enough cheap pans in my kitchen, I'm spending more time throwing out broken kitchen appliances than buying new stuff.
I mean, sure, I could risk it with maybe a $5 or $10 pan from Alibaba instead. But why should I even risk it? Lodge has high enough quality, is highly reviewed in cast-iron enthusiast online discussion, and is widely available.
It's worse than that. With random chinese jank, you don't know if that "cast iron" pan didn't include pot metals. I heard that lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals were "tasty". Because they, like iron, leech into the food. Fortunately, the amount of iron that leeches out is diet-wise necessary... Whereas lead - not so much.
I wouldn't risk a free "cast iron" pan from anywhere China. Or India. Or the South Pacific countries. There's too much at stake(steak) to ingest in things that have little to no: QA, testing, laws, quality standards. Not worth it.
But pure cast iron is just that: Iron. Iron isn't "pure", it will have varying carbon content and other metals. But these metals (and other materials) all have far higher melting points than Lead, so Cast Iron itself is probably lead free (otherwise: the metallurgy process probably would fail if you didn't purify the Iron Ore enough before casting it)
The simplicity of the design and manufacturing is one of the reasons people buy pure, classic cast iron skillets. There are strong guarantees built innately to the casting process. The iron doesn't need to be particularly high quality either for the pan to work.
Higher-quality metals (ex: Steel) are somewhat against the point of cast iron. Steel pans are smaller and thinner, but the point of a cast-iron skillet is the huge weight which slows down the cooking process. A cast-iron skillet is slow to heat and slow to cool down, because its made of super-heavy iron. Aluminum or Copper Frying pans have a similar issue: they are so lightweight that they won't make the same kind of sear as a classic cast-iron pot.
But I think you have a point about lead-worries in Ceramic-enamel Cast Iron products like: https://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Enameled-Classic-Enamel-Island/...
The paints and ceramic composition are far more ambiguous and subject to quality-control issues. Lead used to be very common in a variety of paints
Though typically one would use a cast iron pan for savory items more than sweet ones, so I have my doubts about intentionally adding lead.
Also, there are only so many ways you can put a bikini together. The Chinese should have learned this by now. Or they can simply hire an Italian fashion student for a small price.
I've been working in OEM manufacturing for 12 years, with short brakes for college and freelancing stints.
Answer to that: quite a few do, but it is very hard for higher quality Chinese goods to reach Western markets. It is that entire global trade mechanism that was built on trading nothing, but "cheapest shit" that is working against them.
Often, it is the original Western OEM client that insists on bargaining to the last cent, taking cost cutting down to such silly things like thickness of plastic parts, paint quality or borderline electronic component rating.
In worst cases, the appallingly low quality of a product may even be an intentional design decision by the buyer:
When I was an exchange student in Singapore in 2010, I worked in a trade company. One of our clients was another sourcing company that allegedly worked for Amazon.
So, those guys come to our office to check what power supplies we have for them. They pick apart our samples saying things along lines:
"Sample A has too high spec parts, they don't need to last that long. Plastic on sample B is unnecessarily thick. Sample C has non-essential stress reliever on the cable and the cable itself is way too thick..."
Why would a Chinese company try selling quality stuff to the West if no sourcing agency employed by American MNCs will pick them up? There is no incentive for that.
A western OEM can overpay and still get bad quality. Unless you are willing to send your own QA people over there, you aren't going to get the quality you want. Anyone who successfully outsources in China is very hands on about it.
> "Sample A has too high spec parts, they don't need to last that long. Plastic on sample B is unnecessarily thick. Sample C has non-essential stress reliever on the cable and the cable itself is too thick..."
That's also true, but in this case they are at least working with their customers on costs, not promising something for a price they can't deliver on and silently cutting corners later on to make up their margins.
> send your own QA
Rarely... what American big co. managers understand under "sending your own QA" is usually something like:
1. Hiring a lawyer "doing" that
2. Lawyer company hiring a manufacturing auditing company
3. Auditor company hiring an inspection and certification expert
4. That expert company finally hiring a professional services company which sends an underpaid engineer temp to finally visit the company and do a 5 minute check.
It sounds absurd, but I've seen that way too often, few times with things happening in this exact sequence.
Being hands on about that is the key. It is not rocket science, but so few are doing that... almost like if C-levels of American companies get some kind of "yuck factor" dealing with Chinese.
Those guys have it almost as an unconscious impulse to hide behind a wall of 10 legal counsels and other agents whenever anything involving China has to be done. Before coming to the West, I could not have imagined that it is even possible to hire an attorney for doing something like that.
And it's working well for them.
But why doesn't it exist in many product categories ? Why it's so hard to find a list of similar Chinese brands for different product categories ?
I observed a progression going like this in my hobby (firearms and accessories):
1. No Chinese goods. Expensive US and European brands dominate the market.
2. Chinese goods enter by extending their airsoft product lines, and quickly dominate the "cheap junk" market. But there's a huge gap in both price and quality between them and older brands. Older brands still retain a large part of the market, because the quality of that new stuff below "good enough" in most cases.
3. Small companies that don't have an established brand name and compete on prices start outsourcing to China and offering products at "made-in-China, QC'd-in-USA" prices, with warranty, tech support etc. The prices are now about 1/3 of established brands, unlike the junk before that was at 1/20. This creates a whole new market segment, which takes away a lot of customers from those brands, because it's past the "good enough" bar.
4. Large companies jump on the bandwagon to compete. You start seeing essentially the same design with minor cosmetic changes being rebranded and sold by various companies. Because this is fairly obvious in the age of the Internet, the value of the brands diminishes.
5. Chinese suppliers find their way to the American market, and start selling the same stuff directly, offering comparable warranties and customer support, but at even lower prices. New brands get established in this manner (e.g. Holosun).
6. Chinese brands start targeting the high-end market, and adding exclusive features for their own products, that are not available in generic product lines intended for rebranding (at least, not until sometime later).
The industry was around #1 up until mid-2000s or so, and it just got to #6 about a year ago. Anything that's not made in China is squeezed into narrower and narrower niche at the top of the market. Holosun got to the point where they are making $1K+ electronics that is competing against $2K+ equivalents by established brands - in other words, they're already contesting for the part of the market way above where most customers are.
Chinese manufacturers and retailers are moving up the value chain as fast as they can, but it's not an overnight process and no-brand goods aren't going away.
 e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfyAjkPIYyc
 e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZh7VfxBmcw
One packet from a factory came with each product individually wrapped in aluminum foil like a child did it (and probably did) and each product was still coated in a sheen of gross machine grease. That was the worst out of a round of Alibaba buying of maybe 20 SKUs.
There's also a big world out there and the discount that comes from buying products of poor quality is more appealing than the quality itself. There are, in fact, many ways to make a bikini.
As for QA, if they aren’t trying to build a brand with repeat buyers, QA is simply overhead. Even if they are, they might not have the foresight or management experience to implement QA correctly. The lack of merit-based management talent is a huge problem.
I do not doubt this for a second.
OTOH, recently we've even seen quality on Apple's Mac products deteriorate noticeably. Assuming Apple is extremely good at this strict QA, I wonder if some sort of China manufacturing sea-change has occurred.
First, you proclaim loudly the minute PRIME failed.
Second, you reject the shipment on that you needed it within that time quote.
Third, you initiate "did not receive".
Fourth if Scammyzon balks, chargeback.
Before somebody can buy something directly from China, the person have to know what they can buy... You know, entire business empires were built entirely on knowing what and where to buy.
Then, you would have a better website for Amazon than Amazon does. People would use it. Sure, Amazon would totally absorb you once you got big enough, but that doesn't sound like the worst problem for a millionaire to have. And it would fix the problem.
Two real examples:
If you have a site where you show a graph of all the IMDB ratings for a TV series, that isn't enough added value and they will ask you to remove the links.
If you have a site where you post the reading-orders for various short series with short introductions, that is enough value.
It seems that it'd be to Amazon's benefit to provide an API (perhaps they do, I haven't really searched, just haven't yet noticed one available) and see what data gets pulled related to sales...
I'm not sure getting a cheap price/good deal is worth the risk (even for clothing) as the materials may be dangerous to your health.
I just bought one from Monster Pets and confirmed it was US based company: https://www.monsterpetsonline.com/2605-2/
Am I wrong in assuming this is not from China?
Fulfillment by Amazon was a decent idea, but it's time for it to go the same way as the Dash button and Amazon pop-up stores.
This is what 1-man-brands are. I myself used to run a sunglasses brand in my student years :)
Most are just dropshippers, or people working out of home.
Recipe was simple: order cheapest 1 dollar sunglasses on Alibaba, have them put into fancy packaging and silkscreened with something Italian sounding. Then you make up a generic website with stock photos for your "brand"
I was surprised with the amount of people keen to buy $100 to $200 sunglasses with nothing more than an Italian sounding brand name.
Don't you need a mainland bank card and phone number to use Taobao, and also know Chinese?
once you get used to the format, you should be able to order things without knowing chinese; it's pretty consistent. helps to know the language for things like reviews, product descriptions, etc. though.
Office Depot and Alibaba team up to tap small and medium businesses
Office Depot on Monday teamed up with Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd to launch a co-branded e-commerce website, seeking to tap into the opportunities of selling to small and medium businesses in the United States.
While the Chinese e-commerce giant has inked deals with U.S. companies including Kroger Co to sell products in China through its online marketplace Tmall.com, the deal with Office Depot marks Alibaba.com’s first business-to-business collaboration with a major U.S. company.
The partnership would give Alibaba access to Office Depot’s 10 million customers and 1,800 sales agents.
Alibaba would also be able to take advantage of Office Depot’s distribution network that offers next day delivery in the United States, the companies said in a joint statement.
Office Depot’s customers will also get access to Alibaba’s global network of over 150,000 suppliers to find more product options or a reputed manufacturer to produce their goods.
For instance, a cutlery maker with a special design can find a factory to make it, which can be sold to restaurants or retailers across the world using Alibaba.com platform, John Caplan, head of North America B2B at Alibaba Group, said in an interview with Reuters.
How can they possibly make money selling bike parts for 1.99 EUR from China?
But the US wants to end this: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/10/trump...
Second, developed countries offer China subsidies as an undeveloped country on postage rates. Postage stamp for international mail is in between 50 to 90 cents. Prepaid envelopes go for 1 to 2 USD.
Third, E-commerce companies are eligible for Chinese own postal subsidies on top of that, and they get some volume discounts. Subsidised price for prepaid envelopes was around 40 cents last time I checked, so it is probably closing on 20 cents in wholesale volumes.
Fourth, China still has a lot of people in abject poverty. You may be surprised, but a lot of these 1 dollar goods sellers are working out of small towns or villages. For them, earning even 10 dollars a day selling abroad may look more attractive than trying to sell to Chinese domestic market where they have no chances.
Edit: they actually got a website in English http://english.chinapost.com.cn/html1/report/1208/204-1.htm
Interestingly, even small air parcels that are not considered postal correspondence get crazy low rates http://english.chinapost.com.cn/html1/report/1208/188-1.htm
And the operating costs for these ships are not huge. You're looking at a ballpark of a million bucks. Convert that into $/cubic foot and you can see the point. They can make a very near $0 profit per foot, and still show substantial profit. So cheers for economies of scale! If you ever get a chance to see one of these ships in real life, I'd strongly recommend it. These words and numbers mean nothing compared to actually seeing one of these monsters.
I believe Jeff Bezos simply failed to comprehend the market.
Amazon in China was actually beginning to do quite well in the last year when they found their niche in second tier cities.
Second tier city may not sound appetising, but you have to keep in mind that even second tier cities in China have more buyers than entire USA.
Maybe they got caught up in the stupid VC mindset that unless you're the dominant player with exponential growth, you've failed.
You can literally say the exact same thing about VCs that treat anything short of market dominance with exponential growth as failure.
It's not a question or more/less information. People with the same extensive information can make vastly different decisions based on having different values and priorities. The person with the most information doesn't necessarily make the best decisions.
I'm not talking about incompetence at all.
> They’re one of the most long term oriented companies in the world.
That still doesn't change anything. More information or a very long term focus isn't going to make someone see that being a successful #2 or #3 player in a market isn't a failure.
My guess would be her government stipulating 'joint venture or leave'.
In general, my understanding is that it is NOT exactly what happened. We are putting tariffs on ALL IMPORTS from China, whether designed, maintained, operated by a US corp or a Chinese corp.
A better policy would have recognized that there is a distinct difference between Chinese and US corps looking to sell into the US market.
The simplest example would be anything internet connected product with software. If the design, software, marketing etc. is all largely in the US and just the physical product is manufactured in China, it seems like a reasonable economic policy to say that China can keep the manufacturing business and the US corps can continue to do this - largely because it acknowledges the reality that US manufacturing for high volume/low mix is simply not going to be competitive and if it is, it will only be due to automation.
Leaving the manufacturing in place but blocking Chinese market access would impart substantial hardship to Chinese companies who are able to ignore US Trademark, IP, deceitful advertising/low quality (read other threads on this HN post), all the while largely not interrupting US businesses.
It would have provided needed leverage while avoiding doing damage to US business and consumers.
Also, they mention that the last mile delivery is expensive, but often goods are delivered only to the post office, not to the customer's door so the expenses are not that high.
"Under the current UPU’s treaty, China and other countries deemed a 'developing nation' receive a lower rate for packages shipped to the U.S. via the United States Postal Service."
That's why it is convenient to get $3 iPhone case from Chinese/Asian country seller at $0 shipping cost. Gotta love the loop holes, eh?
15 years ago we were watching reports on the Walmartization of america, and one key line from the Frontline documentary (I think) was that Walmart basically taught China how to sell to America.
There was a HN article yesterday about Washington State suing Amazon for selling toxic toys. That's why you don't buy direct.
The world has come full circle. You used to buy your candles from the candlestick maker. Then you bought them at the department store. Now you buy them on the internet directly from the candlestick maker.
According to the data presented by the article, Chinese sellers have ~40% market share.
It is possible (and likely) that these sellers represent a long tail of small operations, and therefore << 40% of the top sellers are based in China.
Case in point, I ordered an urgently needed textbook off Amazon and was disappointed to learn that the package ended up delayed at customs for numerous weeks. I felt somewhat violated.
Amazon is still fine if you're looking for a name-brand item, but as soon as you leave that path, who knows what you'll get? Don't take my word for it, but I even remember reading about their "Fulfilled by Amazon" program substituting items from different sellers with the same SKU. The result was predictable: people scammed the system by mis-labeling cheap knockoffs.
Now that Amazon makes so much money off AWS, maybe they could use a bit of it to put third party sellers in their own "Wild West" tab, and taking a bit of responsibility for what they sell.
President Donald Trump says his administration is beginning the process to impose 25% tariffs on another $325 billion in Chinese imports, covering everything China sells the United States.
This will definitely have an effect on Amazon FBA sellers eventually, as foreign factories continue to move out of China until...they're all gone. Then the Chinese factories will try to flood Amazon with goods...until Trump focuses on Amazon, after he tariffs all of Chinese's goods.
I only wish a smarter guy was doing this. We could've used our allies to also slap tarrifs on them as well. The top export markets for China are the US, Japan, Germany, South Korea. A pretty good list of strong U.S. allies. We could've crippled them with a steadier hand.
Packages whose declared value is under $800... will generally be cleared without any additional paperwork prepared by CBP.