In the shelves of a big mall or a mid-sized supermarket in Malaysia, an Indian product assumes a premium place (of course, along with other credible competitors) with its quality and robustness standing next to Japan and German-made goods. From my hands-on experience, this difference was glaring, especially in the case of average electronics and electrical (EEE) products. However, Indian products fail on two fronts i.e aesthetics (finished look) and pricing. So, to displace a competitor you need both. On the other hand, China made EEE products are less expensive, feature-rich and compromise heavily on quality.
Cultural intelligence, that shapes our choices and way of thinking to play a decisive role in this entire scheme of things. In India, people may have been forced to buy cheap Chinese goods, but the understanding of “quality trumps quantity” seen from the perspective of long-term use is inherent to Indian culture. Indians believe in repair, reuse and recycle. For e.g in an average locality whether in Varanasi or Puri, one can find electrical and electronics repair shops and an entire ecosystem spun around supportive of that culture. However, this to a large extent stands contrary in South East Asia and China where cheap products have sucked in the appetite of the consumers to attempt any reuse or recycle. During my visit to an apartment in the middle of the Kuala Lumpur, I noticed that a Chinese family who had recently vacated their rented flat had left behind numerous electrical and electronics goods including furniture. On further observation I found it to be a phenomenon of a sort, quite prevalent in the rest of the city.
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