Straight from the Specialists
(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)
The Apple iPod has a cutesy little legend on the back which reads ‘Designed in California, Made in China’. Well, the implication of that is quite clear — we in California do the clever stuff and they just stick it together. If it was made in France or Germany, the Apple people certainly wouldn’t be quite so dismissive. ‘Engineered in Germany’ perhaps, or ‘Designed with French flair’.
There’s no doubt that the country of origin effect in certain sectors has a real edge. There’s a cosmetic company in Poland called Dr. Irena Eris; in a quotation from the UK’s Guardian the founder says, “We made a mistake by putting Polish on the packaging. Polish products still have a poor reputation in the west. It’s not like in France where you can stick ‘Made in France’ on the side and people will want to buy it.”
The fact of the matter is that, for some countries and some products, country of origin puts extra money on the price. BMW is German — everybody admires German engineering, so you pay extra for that. L’Oreal makes it quite clear that it comes from Paris. You pay a bit more for that too.