PRC

Confused Japanese consumers want an answer: Where is “P.R.C.”?

In today’s globalized economy, it’s perfectly normal to be wearing shoes made in Malaysia, listening to an American pop star on a Korean smartphone while driving a German car fitted with Japanese tires. But how many times have you taken a good look to find out where those new jeans or those headphones you got for Christmas were really made?

Recently Japanese consumers have been discovering that some of their products are from “P.R.C.,” a country they had never heard of, and would like some answers on what appears to be a legal gray zone in product labeling regulations.

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Goodbye ‘Made in China’: Is the Country that Produced a Billion Products Rebranding Itself?

The country may be on the shy side when it comes to the exchange of digital information, but thanks to cheap labour costs and an enormous workforce China’s exports can be found in practically ever corner of the world. Assembling and distributing everything from U.S. flags to iPhones and laptop computers, since childhood many of us have been familiar with the imprint “Made in China” on the underside of our action figures or dolls. But even if we chuckle at the sometimes shoddy workmanship or gasp at counterfeit goods that never work, arguably few — if any — western countries could survive as they do today without their neighbours in the east.

It would seem, however, that the familiar old “Made in China” stamp is gradually being phased out. Looking at a number of goods assembled in China in recent times, “Made in PRC” is instead becoming an increasingly common sight on boxes and labels. Needless to say, the change is setting tongues a-wagging in Japan.

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