China has been selling the United States such low tech products as toys and clothing. But increasingly, Chinese exports also include high-end products such as refrigerators and air conditioners. A trade show that is showcasing these products in Los Angeles.
There are motorbikes with a wholesale price as low as $200 and sewing machines that sell for as little as $100 retail.
Moises Cisneros is international trade manager for the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, which is cosponsoring the China Name-Brand Products trade show. Mr. Cisneros notes that 120 Chinese firms are displaying their wares. "These are very large, very sophisticated companies that are bringing everything from washing machines to electrical products," he says.
The Chinese sewing machine-maker Feiyue opened an office in California four years ago. From there and from its Miami branch, the company sells $5 million in products in the United States each year. The machines are sold under the brand names Feiyue and Yamata.
The company sells professional models to the garment industry, but concentrates on the home consumer market with machines that sell for as little as $100. Feiyue general manager Kenneth Dong says price is what attracts his customers. "Our prices are at least about 50 percent different compared with all other models," he says. "Whatever the model you choose, we are about 50 percent less."
Importer Charlie Woo, the founder of the Los Angeles company, Megatoys, buys toys from China and sells them throughout the United States and Mexico. Mr. Woo does $40 million a year of business with China, which he says has replaced Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea as his major supplier.
He believes China is following in the path of the Asian "tigers," as the rapidly developing economies were known. South Korea, which is one of those countries, used to export toys. But it has moved on to more sophisticated products, such as automobiles. Taiwan, another of the Asian tigers, is now a major exporter of computers and communications equipment.
Mr. Woo says China is improving the quality of its exports, just as they did. "Obviously, if it is from factories that are owned by Hong Kong and Taiwan manufacturers that have branches there, they have better quality control. Some of the local manufacturers might place less emphasis on quality," he says. "But it's really improving every year. So it's really significant that name-brand products are being shown here because there's no doubt that some of the products, some of these brand names, are going to be the Sonys, the Nikes, the Panasonics of tomorrow."
Eloisa Klementich of the Los Angeles Mayor's Office of International Trade notes that most U.S. imports from China come through the local port, which is operated by the cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach. "Los Angeles/Long Beach has about the third largest port in the world, so we see a lot of shipments from China. And something like this, a show that brings higher-end products, is important not only for China but also for Los Angeles," she says.
Moises Cisneros of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce says U.S.-China trade exceeds $120 billion annually. He says that figure is likely to increase following China's accession last year to the World Trade Organization.
Mr. Cisneros says high-end Chinese products will stimulate competition and help U.S. consumers. He says this trade show in particular will help local businesses expand their China trade. "You're going to be seeing a lot more interaction between the U.S. and China and we want to be ahead of the pack and make sure that we have developed those relationships with these key figures to make sure that LA and California benefit from that $120 billion plus market."
The trade show is expected to bring $1 million in revenue to the city's hotels, restaurants and the tourist industry.