Does the phrase “Made in China” bring up the connotation of cheap goods that are full of lead and contain other safety hazards? Apparently, this stereotype is being shattered by a new trend that’s seeing foreigners come to China to buy up “luxury” items in droves.
That’s according to this article, which lists the ten most popular Chinese luxury items among “laowai”. Here they are:
1. Unmanned Drones
The recent news of the drone that fell onto the White House lawn is significant since it highlights the trend of Americans buying Chinese-made high-tech products. Chinese netizens discovered that the model used in the incident was one made by a Shenzhen company and sold on Taobao for RMB 5,999. Another high-profile case involves a captured drone used for reconnaisance in Syria, also made by a Chinese manufacturer.
The manufacturer of the drones in both of these incidents is DJI, a Chinese company with a 70 percent global market share in drones. In fact, DJI sells 80 percent of its goods to the US market.
2. Spicy tofu strips
Hailed by the report to be “equated among laowai as the same as Peking duck”, spicy tofu strips are very cheap snacks sold in Chinese convenience stores. Having come to prominence last year from multiple netizens posting videos of their English teachers suspiciously trying it for the first time, spicy tofu strips have achieved a notoriety of their own.
The cheap snack worth 71 US cents (RMB 4.5) in China, so it’s hardly a “luxury” item. But they can now be seen on Amazon for $14.99 (RMB 94), 21 times higher than its original price.
3. Chinese running shoes
There is apparently a trend among Hollywood stars to wear Chinese brand running shoes that are considered outdated by Chinese youth. The report cites the example of a paparazzi photo of Orlando Bloom wearing Huili (Warrior) brand shoes.
These shoes are currently for sale for $24.99 (RMB 156) on Amazon, with no reviews, while similar makes are selling for RMB 40 ($6.40) on Taobao.
Described in the report as having “conquered the palates of Americans and Europeans”, Laoganma is a spicy flavoring condiment that also received a huge price increase when put on sale overseas. Costing RMB 8 ($1.2) in China, Laoganma is sold for $8 (RMB 50) on Amazon.
Laoganma currently has a four-star rating from 36 users on Amazon, in which one user said, ” Find a local Asian grocery and you can get it for $3-4 a jar. Only if you live out in the boondocks should you pay as much as these online dealers want.”
5. Rubik’s Cubes
While you may remember these to be a fad from the 1980s, this report tells us that Rubik’s Cubes are a hot luxury item sought after by foreigners. The report says Rubik’s Cubes produced in China are considered top notch by professional players, and are the ones used in Guinness World Record contests. Apparently, once Chinese manufacturers started making Rubik’s Cubes, they “revolutionized” the Rubik’s Cube industry.
6. Dabao Skin Cream
Described as being extremely popular with Japanese, Dabao skin cream is said to cost ten times more in Japan than it does in China.
7. Cool Cream
“Cool Cream” brand ointment is said to be very popular throughout Asia and Africa as a way to treat mosquito bites. It costs four yuan.
The report says out of every four wigs worn in the US, one comes from China.
9. Fiber-weaved handbags
The report notes a 2013 Paris fall collection by fashion designer Celine that featured these handbags. They are made out of a material commonly used throughout China for cargo bags.
It wasn’t made clear how these luxury items can be purchased by the public.
David Beckham topped the trend of Westerns getting tattoos of Chinese characters when he got got a tattoo of the Chinese saying, “All men are fated to their life and death; riches and honor are determined from Heaven.”
These luxury items can be written to mean anything from a Western person’s name in Chinese, to characters representing “love” or “strength”, like Megan Fox’s does.