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contact: Prof. Russell C. Leong
Prof. David K. Yoo
Mission of the
U.S./China Media
and Communications
Program at UCLA

Our mission is to create, promote, and disseminate a more balanced understanding of the interrelationship of the countries, peoples, and cultures of the United States and China through the tools of mass communication and public education.

Four strategic areas make up the U.S.-China Media and Communications Program, housed at the UCLA Asian American Studies Center at the University of California, Los Angeles.
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Experts Exchange: Charles Woo
Charles Woo
Co-founder/CEO, Megatoys

Charles Woo is the co-founder and CEO of Megatoys, a toy manufacturer headquartered in Los Angeles, with and manufacturing facilities both in U. S. and China. He is a former Chairman of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Chair of Center for Asian Americans United for Empowerment (CAUSE), a non-profit group that provides leadership development, as well as voter education and registration programs for the APIA community.

 

"Made in China": What's Behind the Label


Charles Woo, CEO of Megatoys, interviewed by phone in Los Angeles on July 30, 2008 by Russell C. Leong, U.S.-China Media Brief editor.

[keywords: keywords: product safety, labor costs and standards, consumer trends, Shenzhen, supply chain]

As a leading U.S. toy manufacturer who frequently goes to China to oversee your factories, what's your take on the product safety issue?

CW: Let's step back to look at that question. Product safety is connected to the way products are actually manufactured in China-- so this issue is far more complex than how the American media tends to cover it.

First, the costs of Chinese goods have risen dramatically over the past two years, due to the rising exchange rate of RMB (Chinese currency) versus the U.S. dollar, the higher cost of raw materials which are often imported, and the increasing labor costs. Vietnam and Pakistan, for instance, are much cheaper than China to produce or certain items such as low-cost garments, stuffed toys, etc. Second, the only factor here that might be considered cheap is the labor costs in China. Due to a shortage of skilled labor and rising living standards in recent years, even the labor costs have gone up drastically. The Chinese government has raised the minimum wage and started to enforce labor standards.

Read more "'Made in China': What's Behind the Label"