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Published on January 20th, 2016 | by Varuna Singh

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CES aftermath: Its 2016 & Everything is Made in China

Almost everything at CES 2016 is made in China – and that’s a great thing. But..
What does it take for that perception to break? This year I’m looking at the show from a different angle. The ‘Made in China’ emboss is going deeper than just a brand, its going way beyond a stereotype to actual conversation coming 2016.

The Nike effect happened to Apple where they took the most hit for tech industry’s obsession with China. Like Nike, which in the last decade took a hit for child labor and other work ethics in the industry, Apple is taking most of the hit for, well, things made in China and the politics and operations around it.

“Why don’t we have this? Its 2016!”

2016 is a point where we look at the Made in China mark a bit differently abeit skeptically. Why don’t we have a technology work ethics mark on a product yet? Its 2016.  This isn’t China’s fault. Its simple supply demand. China is just very flexible in putting variable price range. What sets a brand is the key players that come out of it.

Take a look at Japan. When Sony was struggling up in the early days, it fought through the perception of cheaper products and stood out and for the most recent years of Sony, their products were acclaimed higher in quality and their design very industrial. That age is getting over and Sony still a stage. The future of Sony is overshadowed by companies from China today.

“The Rise of the Empire”

We need a brand with top of the line products, feel and craftsmanship. I don’t want to see rip off me too devices. Is Lenovo to China what Sony was to Japan? Lenovo has grown its PC and Mobile divisions like crazy in the last two years. Maybe its Huawei. Huawei has been investing a lot on different markets after an impressive growth back home. They now plan on doing the same for the US market right after the Middle-East push.

Or Maybe it’s those little companies like OnePlus or Xiaomi that become electronics leaders of tomorrow. Some if not most of these companies come with a level of controversies that also happened last year. It’s going to take a lot of versions on their products to get successful, at least in this regard.

Is Lenovo and Huawei the next big thing ?

The counter argument is that none of this matters. It only takes 20 people to launch a very capable device.  But none of us know the procedure behind it. Brands are smart and there are laws put in place to look at this matter, and we know nothing about it. But it doesn’t have to be this way. People like brands and values and heavily invest in them. But they also like the best deal. That’s the herd mentality at least. Now we do need a brand that can innovate in both technology and ethics.

What’s more important is for that company to always set standards and trends. For it to invest in ideas, culture and the general future. It doesn’t have to be a gimmick or a marketing plot. It can be done and it’s been done before.

“The Middle-East is becoming a focal point for the Asian market”

A lot of companies in the Middle-East are entering the market. I’m talking about tech companies and they want a piece of the growth. From valuations point of view, you can get numbers from the demand very easily but I can’t help but notice the amount of attention the industry needs for better ethics and policies.

One of my favorite companies to bring up in this conversation is the now depreciated Nokia. They had a corporate sustainability policy that I haven’t seen any other company have. They were pioneers in mobile and had an environmental angle to their products way before it was cool to talk about such topics.

As we all know, Nokia died sustaining itself in the mobile wave that happened in the past 8 years and with more and more categories and mediums disrupted with technology, we’re going to have to pay more attention to how these tech companies operate.

Heck, I may be completely wrong. In fact, none of this doesn’t matter. Like I said it only takes a bunch of 20 people to start a company that is on the path of good success as well as expansion around the world. That makes technology a commodity and like any other commodity of today, we might as well just put a Fair-trade sticker on it. But someone has to make a stand here for us to really enjoy a fairer tech future.

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About the Author

I work with technology in Education. I also write stuff. I love design and people. @varunasingh



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