Not Made in China
Even before the Coronavirus pandemic paralyzed the planet, some of the world’s largest companies had been shifting their operations from China to other nations. With rising tariffs and ballooning labor costs, businesses were disincentivized to stay put in Beijing, so they sought greener pastures elsewhere. Now that COVID-19 will forever be a black stain on China’s economic legacy, both companies and consumers are giving the red dragon the cold shoulder. Still, it had been taxing to find anything not Made in China. Until now.
When retailers such as Walmart and Target source thousands of their products from China, it can be nearly impossible to avoid Chinese-made products. A new digital service attempts to eliminate this hassle: the NotMadeInChina.Directory.
By using this tool, shoppers now have a choice when buying country-of-origin products to show their support for local businesses, advance democratic values, or protest the way President Xi Jinping and his Communist government mishandled the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies around the world can now register for free on the website and record their product listings.
Michael Paul, the NotMadeInChina.Directory founder, said in a statement:
“By letting customers browse for products with the full knowledge of where they are made allows consumers to make more informed choices around the countries they want to support with their purchases. We are operating on trust knowing that the power of our community will ensure that manufacturers are highly motivated to ensure proper disclosure around product content.
“I realized that so much of what we are buying comes from China – a country that many of us are troubled by in terms of its bad record on human rights, intellectual property theft, and the like. This is a tangible way for consumers to vote with their wallets. It’s a small yet important effort that we can all get behind.”
This is another way that the Made in China trend is becoming a thing of the past.
A Lesson in Marketing
The 1993 Ford Bronco has become one of the most iconic automobiles in U.S. history, up there with the Model T and the Shelby Mustang GT500. Why? It was the car that former football star O.J. Simpson drove in a June 17, 1994, nationally televised low-speed police chase after the death of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.
A new Ford Bronco is set to make its global debut in one of the most highly anticipated car launches in years on July 9. This is a significant date because July 9 is O.J. Simpson’s birthday.
You might be thinking that this bad publicity stunt was done on purpose, but Ford says the “date is purely coincidental.” The automaker had scheduled to unveil the Bronco this spring, but the event was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When corporations spend billions of dollars in marketing, their advertising campaigns go through multiple channels, many different departments, and a lot of high- and low-level people. Since Simpson and the Bronco are synonymous, you would think somebody would have thought to check if July 9 had any meaning.
That said, companies have fallen into many blunders during the coronapocalypse. Last month, Pepsi and Walmart were slammed for their logos on a banner that promoted a COVID-19 testing site in Orlando. Sports Direct in the U.K. became an embarrassment when it insinuated that it was an essential service during Great Britain’s lockdown. Perhaps Ford should be given the benefit of the doubt that it was unaware that July 9 is Simpson’s birthday. Or, then again, maybe Ford was trolling everyone and knew the date would spark some buzz and generate headlines. As the marketing adage goes, controversy creates cash.
As Good as Gold
Despite the Federal Reserve cleaning up the March blood bath with freshly printed U.S. dollars, American investors have been adding to their gold positions. Financial markets might be stabilizing and reclaiming their gains, but many people on The Street are either unconvinced or protecting themselves from worst-case scenarios.
According to U.S. customs data, Switzerland exported a record amount of gold to the United States in May. The Swiss shipped 126.6 tons of gold worth approximately $7 billion, the biggest one-month shipment in recorded history. Since March, Swiss sellers sent 281 tons of gold to the United States, which is 15 times more than what was exported in all of 2019.
What about the other major importers? The two largest buyers of Swiss gold – China and India – saw their imports slump to record lows. This is unsurprising since their demand for gold historically peaks in the first few months of the year.
Reuters also published an insightful piece on the world’s ultra-wealthy building their gold reserves. Many of the most prominent financial institutions, such as UBS, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo, have been increasing their metal recommendations as they also raise their pricing forecast to about $2,000.
The sudden interest in precious metals stems from concerns over the Federal Reserve and other central banks debasing their currencies. These institutions have initiated unprecedented stimulus programs, ranging from near-zero interest rates to unlimited quantitative easing. As a result, many fear that this will depreciate the currency and produce a spike in price inflation. In these times, gold is the best safe-haven asset as it protects your net worth and ensures you can weather the economic storm clouds. If the rich are becoming gold bugs, then it is time to mirror the affluent and pick up your bars and coins.
Read more from Andrew Moran.