Spicy topic ahead 🌶️ Does seeing “Made in China” on a hi-fi product turn you away from buying it? I put this question last week to the Darko.Audio YouTube channel subscriber base. And I asked it because of a recent Instagram video posted by Steve Guttenberg in which he explains that he will no longer be stating a product’s country of origin because of the negativity that ‘Made in China’ draws to his YouTube comments section.
Catch up here:
Why do people baulk at ‘Made in China’? We all have our reasons as to why we make certain choices and pass on others — and I’m sure there are good reasons to refuse products made in the PRC. I’ve seen complaints from viewers about ‘Made in China’ in my own YouTube comments section but almost always absent is the why. I can only assume that it’s a private matter. And my thoughts on the matter will remain similarly private.
Besides, in my experience, when a hi-fi commentator – or actor, musician, author or anyone with an audience – skirts the edge of politics, they’re often yelled at to stay in their lane; or they’re met with a barrage of whataboutism. Never mind that a fish cannot escape the water in which it swims.
A whopping 13,000 people voted in the Darko.Audio YouTube poll and here are the results:
Almost one-third say that ‘Made in China’ is a turn-off. That’s far more than I expected.
My own purchasing decisions tell me that I’m not one of those people. To say so would introduce a double standard. I typed this article on an Apple MacBook Pro. I then checked its legacy mobile formatting on an Apple iPhone 6S Plus – which is also made in China. The Intel NUC that sits behind me to serve music streams around the house is made in China. The external monitor connected to my camera when shooting videos is made in China. As is the much larger computer monitor on which I edit those videos. The Samsung ‘The Frame TV’ with which I watch YouTube videos is made in China. The yellow lamp that sits beneath the TV is made in China. Some of my plant pots are made in China. My electric toothbrush is made in China. So is my air purifier. And air fryer. The Sony NW-A306 in this article’s header image is made in China. And so the list goes on. (I should also add that many of the products mentioned in this list are made to an exceptionally high standard).
I acknowledge the leading negative bias in my poll question but we must ask ourselves: is it plausible that the 32% of poll respondents claiming that ‘Made in China’ would cause them to think twice about a hi-fi product also live a life free of Chinese-made products? And if not, how do they square the double standard? I would invite them to closely examine the device on which they watch YouTube and/or comment beneath a YouTube video. Where was it made? Typing “I was down with this amplifier until you said it’s Made in China” underneath a YouTube video on a smartphone or computer that’s also made in China would surely be some delicious irony.
Adding some context, here are the results of another poll conducted last week, again with the Darko.Audio YouTube subscriber base. 17,000 people responded:
In recent years, Samsung and Apple have both shifted some of their consumer electronics production to Vietnam and India. And I have to wonder if those countries would cause the same 32% of ‘Made in China’ poll respondents less of a pause when pulling the trigger on a new product.