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Rough Guide to Outsourcing In China 181

zentec writes, "An article in Design News chronicles WiLife's outsourcing project to China (they make consumer surveillance cameras). It's a tale of a language barrier, misplaced EEPROMS, backyard engineering, incorrectly assembled parts, sloppy engineering, and flaring tempers. That, and an initial defect rate of nearly 80%." In the end WiLife seemed happy enough with their outsourced manufacturing. This is a nitty-gritty account of life under globalization.
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Rough Guide to Outsourcing In China

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  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:19PM (#16283885)
    It's a tale of a language barrier, backyard engineering...
    I hope you came to do something more productive than ridicule Slashdotters.
  • by Jhon ( 241832 ) * on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:20PM (#16283903) Homepage Journal
    From the article's author:
    In CM's defense, this is the most complex PCA they have manufactured to date. It pushes the limits of their capabilities. The main PCA contains three BGAs and several high pin density surface mount devices. The bulk of CM's output is fairly simple mice and game controllers. CM top management wants to work with WiLife because it forces their factory to enhance their capabilities.
    The author himself says they went with a firm that had never worked on anything more complicated than mice or game controllers. Of course they were going to encounter problems. And it looks like they were OK with that with the deal they were getting...
    • by seanadams.com ( 463190 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @05:36PM (#16285045) Homepage
      Exactly. There are precisely two kinds of contract manufacturers in the world:

      i) Extremely good ones
      ii) Extremely bad ones

      I have worked with both, both domestically and in Asia.

      To get a good CM to build your product you will have to choose them really carefully, and you will also need to have enough volume to make it interesting for them. They will gladly work for razor thin margins as long as you are building enough. However, even if your product is a big-ticket item, it is very hard to get any electronics manufactured in small volumes unless you can buy 100% of the parts from Digikey.

      With some excedptions, a good Asian manufacturer can get electronics built cheaper, faster, and with much better quality than any American shop. It's not just their lower labor cost but also that all your upstream suppliers will be geographically close to the factory, which not only drasstically lowers shipping and handling costs, but also allows the buyers to work with them directly instead of you haveing to go through at least one layer of incompetent middlemen.

      This guy had a bad experience. Shit happens. It is not indicative of what is possible with proper planning and a good business arrangement.
  • aspect ...

    You have to look for and carefully choose an employee you can rely on while hiring someone new.

    You have to look for and carefully choose a local supplier that you can rely on while getting new suppliers.

    You have to look for and carefully choose computer hardware that you can rely on while buying new computer related stuff.

    WHY should outsourcing differ ?

    There is no answer to this.

    Because outsourcing is NOT different.

    You have to look for and carefully choose the company/individu
  • the operative word (Score:5, Insightful)

    by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:22PM (#16283945) Homepage
    In the end WiLife seemed happy enough with their outsourced manufacturing.

    The key word: "happy enough". Meaning, not entirely happy, but they saved enough money that it doesn't matter if everything was stellar. It doesn't matter if the products have an operational life of 13 months. As long as they chug along for a while, and break outside of warranty.

    I'll keep paying a premium for german engineered and manufactured goods, thanks.
    • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:40PM (#16284211)
      When it comes to quality they know what they're doing, the management understand the value of getting it right. Of course by that I mean Japanese companies, rather than specifically japanese workers.

      http://www.reliabilityindex.co.uk/tophundred.html? apc=3128339010848601 [reliabilityindex.co.uk]

       
  • China (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRecklessWanderer ( 929556 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:25PM (#16284011) Journal
    We test stuff from China. Most of it we don't buy because the quality isn't there. It isn't that much cheaper than the stuff that comes from Taiwan. The Korean stuff isn't bad, better than China, but is hit and miss sometimes. Doing business with China is hard because you really can't return stuff to them. Some of the more advanced companies have "depots" in Hong Kong, but not many yet. Look at Japan 30 years ago, or Taiwan/Korea 10 to 15 years ago, and they were in the same state that China is in now. Today, Japanese product comes at a premium, and is superior to most product (IMHO) that is manufactured here in North America (vehicles immediately spring to mind). Once the Chinese people get their head around the different methodology of doing business in North America, they will come in full force and North America will have some serious issues to deal with.
  • by sethstorm ( 512897 ) * on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:28PM (#16284051) Homepage
    With the apparent lack of quality control, seems that the job has to always be monitored. With all the extra time, you might as well send the work to a country that is a bit closer to the US/Western EU and get the job done right the first time. While worker-friendly countries also make mistakes; there is a better chance of getting it right with well-paid, US/Western EU workers than some country that treats its own Rust Belt worse than anything you would see done to the Appalachians or steel workers.
    • by Travoltus ( 110240 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:46PM (#16284313) Journal
      as long as Germany's Jews made cheap lamp shades for America, free trade apologists would be in favor of letting the Nazi's own all our debt and our jobs.

      What with China's political purges (50 million dead there), harvesting of political prisoners (millions dead there) for body parts, the citizens slaughtering their baby girls (200 million dead there), China is in every POSSIBLE way worse than Nazi Germany.

      Welcome to the world of globalism and free trade: for America to compete, we need to go back to the days of sweat shops, factories falling apart, workers being chopped to death by faulty machinery, superpollution, and collapsing mines...er, wait a minute...

      Oh and before you neo cons say it, no, there isn't a new thing for misplaced workers to retrain for. Biotech is going offshore. Alternative energy is just going to replace traditional energy jobs. We're not going into a new era of explosive job growth - except, oh maybe the tourism, cashier, waiter and janitor industry. Got belhop hat?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JordanL ( 886154 )
        I was going to retort on how you clearly are trying to use an excess of morals to make up for a deficincy of economics... then I noticed your sig... "Libertarian Wingnuts".... why don't you leave economics policies to the big kids.
        • Morals have no place in economics. Profits first, people last. In greed we trust.

          If Libertarians are such big kids, then why is it that you can't even pwnz0r New Hampshire with your much ballyhooed free state project thingy? Oh wait, your response is going to answer that question for us!
      • by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @05:05PM (#16284627) Journal
        The irony is that China, fearing foreign influence, placed heavy restrictions on trade starting in the 18th century. As a direct result, they eventually fell so far behind the West that the British were able to capture Hong Kong by 1842, and had opened trading routes by force by the 1860s.

        If the USA closes its borders to trade, China's size and emerging economic power will mean that America will be fucked eventually anway. You've got the choice of being a barista now, or a serf later.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Vicissidude ( 878310 )
          Let's see, China is still far more "protectionist" than the US, but our current balance of trade greatly favors them. In fact, the US and it's "free" market runs a negative trade imbalance with most of our trading partners, and has done so for each of the last 30 years during the time of the "free" market fad. On the other hand, China and it's "protectionist" market has become the world's manufacturer of choice. While China effectively hands us our ass economically, people like you continue to falsely es
          • by s20451 ( 410424 )
            I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. Forget China -- the USA is certainly protectionist when it chooses to be, even towards nations with which it has free trade agreements (for example, towards Canada on softwood lumber [www.cbc.ca]). As for "abject failure", the world's top 20 economies by per capita GDP are all free markets.
            • I support dropping trade barriers with Canada. Canada is an ethical trade partner, unlike China. I would drop just about all barriers with Canada & the EU.
              • I support dropping trade barriers with Canada. Canada is an ethical trade partner, unlike China. I would drop just about all barriers with Canada & the EU.

                You technically did. But the Bush admin have been lobbied by a lot of people to start shit with canada. From the cattle ban on dicey scientific grounds to soft wood lumber (all trades bodies point to the US being wrong).
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Vicissidude ( 878310 )
              The point I'm making is that China, the world's second-largest economy, is currently kicking the US's ass when it comes to trade. China is certainly not a free market. And with the way things are going, China will overtake the US as the largest economy of the world. That pokes a hole in the free traders' absolutist philosophy regarding the way economies should operate.

              Things will continue along this path until the free-traders acknowledge the problems with their philosophy:
              • Freely trading with protec
              • You could go back in time 40 years, substitute "Japan" for "China" in your post, and nothing would be different.

                Except of course, Japan eventually did reach US levels of income, and did start to import some goods from the US, despite protectionist Japanese trade barriers. And the US standard of living has roughly doubled in that time. So, in essence, your post is complete drivel.

        • If the USA closes its borders to trade, China's size and emerging economic power will mean that America will be fucked eventually anway. You've got the choice of being a barista now, or a serf later.

          We can trade with Europe. Offshoring to Europe is ok in my book - they have human rights and worker protections. Nice vacations, too.

          Given China's human rights problems, if we let China grow, we're screwed. MAJORLY. The whole world will follow their example, they will NOT follow our example. They don't have to.

          O

        • "Foreign influence"... you mean colonialism? Which, China had every right to fear, as history has shown.

          It's too bad Britain and other Western imperialist powers never had to pay for their crimes.
      • Then the US needs to wake up and do something to level the playing field. China screws with their currency to keep good cheap, for one. I don't like the political situation there, but the US seems to be doing everything possible to drive manufacturing away. I can get cables made in China for $1.50 that (even after shipping and import duties) would cost me 3 or 4 times as much to have produced here. And that's assuming that I can even get a US manufacturer to talk to me, being a very small business. Les
      • What with China's political purges (50 million dead there), harvesting of political prisoners (millions dead there) for body parts, the citizens slaughtering their baby girls (200 million dead there), China is in every POSSIBLE way worse than Nazi Germany. Got a source to back up those numbers or did you pull that out of your ass? I'm a Chinese-American. Everyone except for one of my parents' siblings are alive. There're 2 women on my father's side and 1 on my mom's side. The only sibling who died was
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by p0tat03 ( 985078 )

          Disclaimer: I am a Chinese Canadian.

          I really have to object against the use of the word "genocide" in your post. The Japanese in WW2 were known to be especially brutal to the Chinese civilian populace, but what went on was classic pillage & rape, it's a long way from genocide. Don't use that word just to sound dramatic. I'ts like accusing a rapist of being a serial killer. They may both be terrible crimes, but they are not synonymous.

          And might I add that your evidence is entirely anecdotal? The pres

      • by Marsala ( 4168 )

        Oh and before you neo cons say it, no, there isn't a new thing for misplaced workers to retrain for.

        How is it that the unemployment rate in August (according to United States Bureau of Labor Statistics) was 4.7% (down from 4.9% a year earlier)? If outsourcing has been going on since 2000 and there's nothing there to replace jobs lost to it, shouldn't the unemployment rate be higher?

        • underemployment (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Travoltus ( 110240 )
          That means, a lot of college degreed CIS/CS/MIS grads who are working at Wal Mart or other lower paying jobs because their degrees that they got after 1995, with tons of student loan debt, are worth little if anything because of offshoring.

          Let me repeat: they have jobs, ergo they're not unemployed. But they have jobs that are different, and far, far lower paying, than what they were trained for. Which is why the middle class is shrinking. But don't believe me. Read this. http://www.factcheck.org/article249. [factcheck.org]
          • Which is why the middle class is shrinking. But don't believe me. Read this. http://www.factcheck.org/article249.html [factcheck.org]

            Well, I didn't believe you, and checked myself. That article talks about the middle class change in 2003. What about in 2004 and 2005? Turns out that in 2004 [census.gov] and 2005 [census.gov] the middle class gained by +0.4% and +0.2%, respectively, while the lower-income group changed by 0.0% and -0.5%, respectively, using the same measures of middle and lower class as used in the referenced article.

            These were

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      With all the extra time, you might as well send the work to a country that is a bit closer to the US/Western EU and get the job done right the first time. While worker-friendly countries also make mistakes; there is a better chance of getting it right with well-paid, US/Western EU workers than some country that treats its own Rust Belt worse than anything you would see done to the Appalachians or steel workers.

      I'm a bit befuddled by your reply, considering your sig. Without knowing the marginal cost of
  • by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:38PM (#16284177) Homepage Journal
    This reminds me of a hand-generated flashlight we purchased this summer. The brand was the same as every other shake-and-get-light flashlight I had seen, but they had recently moved production to China. Sure enough, I couldn't get the flashlight to work when I needed it. Come daylight, I took a close look at the clear plastic case. Sure enough, the uninsulated wires on the coil that the permanent magnet passed through, were twisted together. The flashlight was completely sealed- no way to repair it except to take it back for exchange.
    • and it is impossible to tell by eyeball inspection unless really close.

      Sure, there could be a bad patch in the insulation, but there are other more likely faults than that.

    • I too got scammed on the shake light... Bought one at the gun show, showed my grandfather. He wanted some too (gifts), so I got a couple more. When I got home, I pulled them all out of their boxes to make sure they worked... And one had a busted switch. Took it apart, and found batteries in my shakelight. Sure was disappointed.

      Anyways, went to another gun show, and saw a booth with all sorts of LED light stuff. The guy had a strip of white LEDs for undercounter lighting, and LED conversion kits for Mag [maglite.com]
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:41PM (#16284215)
    Al Mudrow's Tips For Traveling in China: 10. If you go out for a massage, which are common in China, make sure you specify to the receptionist that you want a "foot massage". I've been told a regular massage involves more intimate contact than you may be comfortable with.
    You've "been told" this, huh? By "a friend," I suppose?
    • I should probobly go over those "travel tips" before people start following them...

      1. Plan a trip to China the same way you would plan an extended backpacking trip into the wilderness. Start with a backpacking checklist. Leave off the obvious items of tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad. Pretty much everything else on your list is useful.

      Oh, they'll *love* your shotgun and bear spray, I'm sure. On a serious note, you don't need camping supplies, you need what every backpacker would carry in a third-world co
  • .... with an account of simply setting up a new manufacturing facility in the same country?

    The language barrier may be easier to overcome (although some places in US have rather thick accents), but everything else?..

  • by russ1337 ( 938915 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:50PM (#16284383)
    >> It's a tale of a language barrier, misplaced EEPROMS, backyard engineering, incorrectly assembled parts, sloppy engineering, and flaring tempers. That, and an initial defect rate of nearly 80%."

    That sums up manufacturing in the USA, so what problems did they have in China?
  • Communism sucks (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Shao Ke ( 266962 )
    Having worked with many people from the area of Taiwan/China in engineering, I have found that many of them don't understand the concept of craftsmanship and maintainability. They're still building crap. I've talked to people who have worked with engineers from the former Soviet Bloc who are the same way. At a company I worked for, a Russian hardware engineering manager bought basically black market Broadcom ethernet PHYs which had some bad bugs. Broadcom also refused to support us because the chips wer
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by wumingzi ( 67100 )
      Having worked with many people from the area of Taiwan/China in engineering, I have found that many of them don't understand the concept of craftsmanship and maintainability....I think Communism killed the concept of quality in these countries.

      Pity Taiwan was never Communist, or your argument might have some merit.

  • Given that the outsourced product was good enough, I wonder how bad it is in the US. IIn the US it seems we increasingly have unmotivated workers, largely due the constant threat of losing ones job. I see super paid project engineers that won't take time to understand the local product or local population of workers, rather focusing on shoehorning generic solutions, and then threatening supervisors it the solution is not made to work. Supervisors who are afraid to make things better, or just not competen
  • Yes, it's true, an engineer in China is typically much less productive than an engineer in the united states. After all, you often get what you pay for. However, I really think all these anti globalization types need to take an econ 101 class. There are problems with what is happening now, but I think the world needs to figure out some way to get along, and protectionism really isn't the answer. Don't people in other countries have just as much right to a job as people in rich countries? I think they d
    • Hey ... I'm no supporter of protectionism, history has shown repeatedly that it simply doesn't work. However, you have to be VERY careful when you make a statement like "I'm sorry, but engineers (and all kinds of other white collar & blue collar jobs) are just not as valuable as they used to be to the market place" especially in in reference to the US economy where this class now provides the bulk of the tax revenues and consumer spending. The result of sustained income depression in the middle class wo
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by db32 ( 862117 )
      I suppose it depends on the specifics of "protectionism". I mean realistically, the whole cheap labor thing in the US has been made illegal for good reason. Child labor, sweat shops, and don't forget "company towns". All of these terribly unethical practices are illegal here stateside, but not illegal in many of the cheap offshore places...in fact, in quite a few that is what makes them cheap. I don't think we should ban offshoring, or even penalize it. I think we should just enforce standards on the c
  • by tttonyyy ( 726776 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @05:14PM (#16284759) Homepage Journal
    I remember my first encounter with Chinese manufacturing.

    The factory had pictures of their product in their brochures. I was about to place a sample order when I noticed a picture of the product being made on their production line. It looked NOTHING like the one in their brochure. Closer inspection revealed that their product brochure consisted of products made by reputable manufacturers but with the brand names edited out (quite poorly). Shame on me for not spotting something so obvious before.

    Their actual products - a poor quality copy.

    Of course, that is my experience as a sample of one out of one. Hardly representative, I know, but kinda representative of TFA. :)
  • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot AT worf DOT net> on Monday October 02, 2006 @05:19PM (#16284843)
    The third shift is slang for when the CM continues to manufacture more of your product without being asked about it. The goal, of course, is to shunt this product to a separate market and undercut your production (after all, they don't have marketing, R&D, etc to pay for). Since these CMs often handle inventory for you, they can order extra parts without you knowing.

    Or they take your design, modify it, and manufacture their own (possibly inferior) version. They have everything they need - board layouts (schematic can be derived), binary object code (for FPGAs, flash memory, etc), parts lists, etc.

    Just a hazard of outsourced production.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    We experience the same kind of issue with our foreign employees (consultants):

    * Not very hard workers
    * Always on a leave
    * Snack and coffee every 30 minutes
    * Think they know better than you
    * Surf and chat most of the time rather than to improve their competency in the offering
    * Request business class for a 8 hours flight because else this is too painful
    * Most extended expense sheet you can imagine

    By the way we are a German software company with an office in the US....
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by LindseyJ ( 983603 )
      Wow. If I am reading your comment right, you are trying to say that Americans are not good workers, based on your experience with American consultants. Consultants.

      Also, this point: "* Think they know better than you".

      Well, yes. I should hope you are hireing consultants that know more than your employees. What is the purpose of spending money on their consulting if you could just ask Joe down in Marketing and get a similarly educated answer?
      • Wow. If I am reading your comment right, you are trying to say that Americans are not good workers, based on your experience with American consultants. Consultants.

        Also, this point: "* Think they know better than you".

        Well, yes. I should hope you are hireing consultants that know more than your employees. What is the purpose of spending money on their consulting if you could just ask Joe down in Marketing and get a similarly educated answer?


        It's not bad workers. It's bad managers that make being a good work
    • by aschlemm ( 17571 )
      If you don't like the job your consultants are doing give them the boot. Here in the U.S. it's quite easy to get rid of contract workers. Heck I've worked for a few companies that liked contractors since they don't whine when they're terminated since it goes with the job. I myself have worked contracts before and as a contractor I expect to be at a company for a certain amount of time and then the job is over. Sometimes I've been told ahead of time when my contract is ending and sometimes not but again it g
  • by bill_kress ( 99356 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @05:37PM (#16285061)
    Perhaps we need a campaign like "Look for the Union Label"...

    From what I've seen, products engineered 100% in the US should have significantly better quality, why not point that out?

    I'm not really against Chinese outsourcing, but if there IS a quality difference in the end product, then that information could be vital to consumers.

    Not that we have the best engineering consistently, but I've never seen a product made in the US released with such poor quality as some of the imports I've seen.
    • by Shados ( 741919 )
      Thats true. I work for a consulting firm (though what i'm gonna say has nothing to do with software outsourcing) which deals a lot with companies in the fabric industry, the kind that make shirts and whatsnot. Basicaly 100% of their stuff is made offshore according to their specs... And its fairly bad (and we're talking 6-7 companies here, so its not just an isolated case).

      Stuff like a box for a "blue shirt #123", with the barcode written over that says "red shirt 456", and inside, you find a ripped, gree
    • Perhaps we need a campaign like "Look for the Union Label"...

      From what I've seen, products engineered 100% in the US should have significantly better quality, why not point that out?

      I'm not really against Chinese outsourcing, but if there IS a quality difference in the end product, then that information could be vital to consumers.

      Not that we have the best engineering consistently, but I've never seen a product made in the US released with such poor quality as some of the imports I've seen.


      except people wou
  • I've seen this a few times - a poorly run mainly US company that doesn't want to pay for someone that can already do the job but instead gets someone cheaper and expects them to learn how to do it. You don't get Dodgy Bros Manufacturing to build something complex with no problems at home so why expect that from a company in China working outside their feild? As for the language barrier - how can anyone competant outsource anything critical to another country without having someone on staff fluent in the l
    • "a poorly run mainly US company that doesn't want to pay for someone that can already do the job but instead gets someone cheaper and expects them to learn how to do it." Except that they seem to be making it work. Sure, they had some start-up problems... but they also made some mistakes in the parts they brought over. It seems like it went fairly well overall, to me.

      "how can anyone competant outsource anything critical to another country without having someone on staff fluent in the language?"

      Hmmmmmmm. Com
  • by StateOfTheUnion ( 762194 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @05:57PM (#16285289) Homepage
    If this guy's engineering and contracting skills are anything like his travel advice, it's no wonder that he wasn't well prepared for the challenges. He gives some silly travel advice . . . I have been to China, Taiwan, Indonesia and a host of other countries executing projects. I can say from experience that: Western style hotels purify their water. It is safe to drink. Silverware that has been washed properly doesn not need to be "sanitized with tea." Fruits and vegetables that have rinds or peels can be eaten uncooked if they are peeled first (e.g. bananas). You don't need a GPS to survive in a foreign country. Westerners have traveled to foreign countries and returned safely since well before the first GPS satellite was launched. In fact if your in a bad area of town a GPS may be just the thing to attract a snatch and grab thief. Same holds for mobile phones. Nice to have, but people have been going to China since well before mobile phones. Though some of the advice given is good, some of it is plain rubbish. China is offically atheist, but expressions of religion are tolerated. And overstaying your visa is not a courtesy issue, its a legal issue. This kind of stuff sounds like the writings of someone that read an outdated travel guide for the xenophobic. I can only imagine that some of the problems this guy had with his contract manufacturer were because he know what he was getting into either travel wise of contract manufacturing wise . . . For example, how come he didn't have another copy of his design drawings for the plastic case with him? That was poor preparation. Not having a spare copy can cost thousands of dollars when you're overseas. And did he really think that the CM woudln't want to redesign the case? Their engineers often try to redesign things to save costs of improve performance. It sounds to me like this guy's bread and butter is components in cameras . . . not plastics injection molding. Advice from the plastics company was probably good helpful advice. Why would he discount such advice? Why would he not put enough float in his schedule so that the manufacturers engineers could review his designs . . . after all, they are the manufacturing experts. I think that this article would be better titled "A Newbie Goes to China" From the linked article:

    Al Mudrow's Tips For Traveling in China: 1. Plan a trip to China the same way you would plan an extended backpacking trip into the wilderness. Start with a backpacking checklist. Leave off the obvious items of tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad. Pretty much everything else on your list is useful. 2. China is a cash-based economy. Credit cards can be used in high-end western hotels but nowhere else. You can get cash through your hotel, banks or "grey-market" foreign exchange shops. 3. China is mostly BYOTP (bring your own toilet paper). Always carry tissue paper with you when you venture out of the hotel. 4. Don't drink the tap water, no matter how fancy or western your hotel. Use provided bottled water. I carry water purification tablets if I want additional water. 5. Be very aware of traffic as you are walking around. Cars and motorcycles come in all directions. Motorcycles especially seem to obey no traffic rules. Vehicles commonly travel on sidewalks as well. Be especially careful of trucks made from converted farm roto-tillers. They don't have brakes. 6. Take a GPS receiver with you. Mark the important waypoints like your hotel, your CM factory and vendor locations. You can use it guide your way when your CM forgets to pick you up, or when guiding your taxi driver, who will inevitably get lost. 7. Always carry a mobile phone with you. Find out before you leave if your mobile phone will work in China. 8. Get a Skype account and purchase Skype-out minutes. Phone calls back to the U.S. and within China are about 3 cents a minute. Quality is better than both mobile phones and even local telephones. 9. In restaurants, use the tea they pour you to sanitize your eating utensils and dinnerware. Only eat food

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by eechuah ( 30147 )
      I disagree with the poster above. I have been to China and am a Malaysian. While it's true that water is safe to drink mostly, I find that the bacteria in the water is different from that in the US. Therefore, if you've been in the US for a long time, you are almost guaranteed to get some stomach irritation when you drink tap water in a 3rd world country. I generally recommend guests from US to drink bottled water when they visit.

      Washing/sanitizing silverware with tea when eating in Chinese restaurants is p
  • kdawson is really bangin the drum on this outsourcing stuff. News for Nerds is "OMG! we're all going to lose our jobs to the Asians!!!!" when kdawson is here, apparently. That and voting machine conspiracy theories.

    With Zonk, it's all about hating Sony (er, I mean $ony). (Hmm, Sony is Japanese. Maybe the new Slashdot editors just don't like Asians.)

    Where's the wholesome Microsoft-bashing and SCO-hating that built this site?
  • "Completely uneducated workers (often child/prisoner/slave) in harsh and very unsafe conditions didn't work out so good. But we saved a few bucks, woohoo!!!"

    Welcome to China.


  • I've heard quite a few outsourcing screw up anecdotes. It just doesn't matter. People may pay lip service to quality but then they buy on price. The cost differential is so great companies will endure alot of bad experiences to get the china price and eventually, they will find a good vendor. I think alot of these outsourcing ain't working out stories are just wishful thinking. Don't get me wrong. I'm no fan of outsourcing. I just don't want like minded people getting their hopes up when they hear stories l
  • ...and that can often include "extras." Extras like lead (Pb). I work with a salesman who had a customer who bought paint from a plant in China because it was incredibly cheap. Something like a third of the cost in the US. Testing showed it to be full of lead, something they used years ago as pigment. Luckily, the company never actually used it, though I never heard of how they disposed of it.

    I'm sure a less ethical company would just "overlook" that and send lead-painted product out the door.
  • I was in China for a training in Guangzhou and i wish to add/differ the following:
    1. Hotels and restaurents are not that clean. McDonalds fries are the closest thing you get to clean cooked food. They prefer to just dump living animals in boiling water enough to kill them, not cook. This approach is not to our liking. And it smells horrible.
    Hotels are aquariums, and you can see the waiter move to the next table with a live Lobster, put it in boiling water for a few seconds to kill it and then server it. The
  • "In the end WiLife seemed happy enough with their outsourced manufacturing..."

    So they were willing to accept mediocrity over decent quality.

    And people wonder why so many electronic items barely last a year or so. Sheesh... Guess I won't be buying a WiLife product any time soon.

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay

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