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Cheap, counterfeit, and unfair competition are the criticisms that the rising "Made in China" often encounters in the world market. However, history is always surprisingly similar. Today, "Made in Germany", known as the world's industrial benchmark, encountered the same criticism as "Made in China" 125 years ago. The British even labeled German-made products "shamelessly". hat.

After the reunification of Germany in 1871, a hundred things were waiting to be done, and the economy needed to take off. The world market is not easy to enter. Germans who are pursuing the dream of being a powerful country in the cracks imitate products from Britain, France and the United States, and rely on cheap sales to hit the market.

On August 1887, 8, the British Parliament passed an insulting trademark law clause, stipulating that all products imported from Germany must be marked "Made in Germany". "Made in Germany" has thus become a new legal term used to distinguish "Made in Britain" and distinguish between low-quality German products and high-quality British products.

But today, 125 years later, newspapers, magazines, and radio stations are all talking about this logo. "Made in Germany" has long changed from inferior products to high-quality products. Since that day 125 years ago, the Germans have tried to make their products sold to all over the world better than local products. For more than 100 years, the whole country has continuously benefited from it. Any "Made in Germany" product "is like a steaming cake" and is welcomed by all countries.

Some people say that the 125-year history of "Made in Germany" is like a fairy tale.

Unwelcome students
German entrepreneurs were called by the British to be the most despicable industrial spies in the mid-19th century. Their products were dumped in the British mainland and colonies as cheap processed goods. In order to protect the interests of domestic products, the British Parliament passed the Commodity Act, marking German products with the shame "Made in Germany". This embarrassing decision for the Germans unexpectedly provoked a shocking response from the German Empire industry.

He is a friendly, elegant and funny person. He called himself Mr. Shrupp in London, England, where he was warmly welcomed by the business community. This German gentleman gracefully attended the gathering of the London business giants and introduced to the host that he was "personally interested in steel products." The British entrepreneur did not become wary of him, but introduced him to the latest British steel production in detail. Process. But these British entrepreneurs did not know that this hidden German was drinking whiskey and smoking a cigar while chatting, and easily spied on the top technology of England in order to produce similar products in Germany.

This technical spy who was stealing a pseudonym in Britain was later discovered by British intelligence agencies. It turned out to be Alfred Krupp, an industrialist on the Rhine River in Germany. This steel king came from Essen and later made the famous Krupp cannon. He is not the only one to spy on technical intelligence in the UK. However, not all industrial spies can obtain the technical intelligence of Great Britain as noble and elegant as Mr. Krupp. Some Germans behaved badly, and naturally they couldn't get what they wanted. For example, a German named Jose once pressed the supervisor of a steel mill in the UK to tell him about the most advanced process in the factory. Of course, the British would not eat this set, so they sent someone to call the police. However, before the police arrived, this Jose had already escaped.

Why does this happen? If we compare the industrial development status of Britain and Germany at that time, we will understand the truth: At that time, after the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, British industry had developed at a high level and became the benchmark of world technology. In contrast, Germany is still a developing agricultural country, and its science and technology are almost half a century away.

"Shameless you", this is the image of Germans in the eyes of the British. Many Germans almost unscrupulously copied British products, manufactured second-rate quality goods, and flowed them into Britain and its overseas markets at dumped prices. In Germany, the wages of workers were low and the working hours were extended indefinitely by capitalists. This made the cost of goods very low and their prices were highly competitive in the world. "Inexpensive products" is an appropriate portrayal of many German products at that time.

In 1876, at the World Commodity Fair in Philadelphia, the United States, the price inspector and machine construction technology expert Joroc’s evaluation of the German products participating in the exhibition was "cheap and poor". His evaluation was published in newspapers and magazines around the world. The appearance of the eye-catching layout of the column headings has made the reputation of German products even worse.

At that time, the scissors and knives produced by the Sheffield Company in the United Kingdom had the highest reputation in the market. Sheffield's knives and scissors were made of cast steel. They were durable and were called the sharpest and most durable knives, so the price Expensive. The manufacturer of knives and scissors in Solingen, Germany counterfeited this famous brand and exported their products abroad with the British "Sheffield" or "Made in Sheffield" quality inspection seal. However, their imitation products are made of cast iron and look similar to Sheffield products, but they cannot be compared in terms of sharpness or hardness.

After the scandal was exposed, the British could no longer tolerate such despicable methods by the Germans. British entrepreneurs launched a campaign to boycott German products. The first is that Sheffield knife manufacturers launched a campaign to boycott Germany's shameless behavior in London. They require all products from Germany to be labeled "Made in Germany". Later, on April 1887, 4, the British Parliament passed the Merchandise Act (Merchandise Act) and included this clause. Since then, all German products must be stamped "Made in Germany" if they want to enter the British domestic or colonial market. British businessmen hope to use such a mark to scare away consumers and make them scorn German products and buy British products instead.

Krupp's industrial empire
The British boycott of German products, as well as the devastating evaluation of German products made by Professor Rox, caused the Germans to reflect thoroughly. In the following 10 years, most German companies remembered Professor Rurox's words: "Compete with quality", strictly control the quality of their products, daring to innovate in design, and the hard work of the German working class. A great change in the economic history of the German Empire. The world's "most shameless" producer of counterfeit products has launched a battle for quality.

This spring, steel king Krupp rode to the factory as usual. He is tall and thin, wearing a foldable hat, a tight jacket, and knee-high riding boots. From the princely-sized Hugel Mountain Villa with 269 rooms on the shore of Lake Essen, he trot all the way to his steel empire 10 kilometers away.

From a distance, the "Krupp Patriarch" had seen his empire, shrouded in black smoke and steam. More than 40 water towers and chimneys stretch high into the smoky sky. Among them, some chimneys are higher than the bell tower of Essen Cathedral. In contrast, this small city in Germany seems to have become an appendage of the Krupp factory. In his factory, more than 1.2 workers go to work. The factory has its own gas and pumping stations, as well as fire brigades and police. There is also a hospital, some shops and its own dedicated railway. In the factory, workers are melting pig iron, forging wheels and bearings used on railroad tracks, and casting crankshafts and cannons from pig iron.

Workers work in hot, smelly, noisy and dirty environments. Especially those who work by the blast furnace have to withstand high temperatures, and in other factories, it is very cold due to the opening of skylights to allow air to flow in. In the workshop, when pouring a crucible filled with boiling molten iron with large tongs, the molten iron often burns or even kills people. However, these workers are willing to work in the Krupp factory because of the good benefits here.

Nevertheless, the problem of employees is always a problem for Krupp. His factory has constantly recruited employees from the beginning. He advertised in newspapers and sent staff to various regions to recruit. In 1855, his factory outside Essen had only 704 employees.

At the time, Essen was a small city and housing was a very serious problem. No one has enough capital to develop houses. As a result, the Essenians rented stables, tool sheds and lofts to workers. In 1840, every 8 people in this city lived in one or two-story houses. By 1865, such houses in some areas had already crowded 18 or even 24 tenants.

The shortage of housing makes it difficult to recruit workers here. Without workers, the factory cannot develop. As a result, Krupp built a batch of houses in the factory in 1856, with very low rent and food, which could accommodate 200 workers. These are a bit like military camps. The housing is very narrow, and the accommodation rules and regulations are also very strict: everyone must abide by the housing discipline and system, and they must wash their hands before meals.

By 1863, Krupp’s workers’ housing had been expanded six times to accommodate more than 6 people. This living area has 4200 buildings, including 9 houses, each with 144-3 rooms. Both gas and water are provided by the factory itself. The formation of such an accommodation area brings new content to the factory. For Krupp, the factory is not only an enterprise, but also a community of life and destiny.

In 1887, the Krupp factory had employed 1.2 workers. These workers work very hard, working 11 hours a day, and the working environment is bad. Most of them work in front of the blast furnace. Their health is seriously threatened because of the high temperature and dust. However, they believe that their work at Krupp is stable, with wages and bread. And housing are guaranteed.

Krupp pays special attention to product quality. He has visited the UK many times and not only introduced technology for the company, but also learned a set of British corporate management methods. He realized that to improve product quality, the quality of producers must be improved. While improving the welfare of workers, he also implemented strict management of the factory. Strict rules and regulations ensure an orderly production. The quality of products is strictly inspected, and the behavior of the workers who produce the products is also strictly monitored. For example, under a strict attendance system, whoever is 5 minutes late will be deducted one hour’s salary, and this money will be deposited into the company’s sickness insurance fund.

In this way, his company's products are increasingly diversified, and the quality is guaranteed, and the company's economic benefits continue to grow. Later, his company's name also became a mark of product quality. Because his military products have reached a leading position in the world in terms of technology and quality, the German emperor and the heads of other countries have become his customers.

For the technologically backward Qing China, the Krupp cannon was Li Hongzhang's favorite. In 1871, when he visited Germany, he personally went to Essen to inspect the Krupp Industrial Empire and ordered more than 300 Krupp cannons for the navy and coastal defense of the Qing Empire.

And many German companies are like this, step by step injecting full gold content into the "Made in Germany" brand.

Come from behind
By the end of the 19th century, the British also began to realize that many German goods were indispensable in their daily lives. Such as pencils, toys, drugs, clocks, beer, cotton cloth, iron cutting tools, pianos and furniture. In addition, they see that the quality of these German products no longer has problems and they are value for money. Germany's low labor force makes the ideal of low price and good quality realized.

In 1897, just 10 years after the humiliation mark of "Made in Germany" was forcibly placed on German goods by the British, the then British Minister of Colonial Affairs Joseph Chamberlain (later the father of British Prime Minister Chamberlain) stated in his inspection report List and evaluate German products one by one:

Clothing: cheaper and practical
Weapons and bullets: cheap and beautiful
Beer: bright and delicious
Cement: The price is cheaper and the quality is high.
Chemical products: excellent scientific research and high quality
Clocks and watches: cheaper, and full of artistic taste and eye-catching
Cotton cloth: cheaper and good-looking
Furniture: cheaper, lighter, and timely delivery
Glass products: cheaper price and better quality
Steel products: cheaper and more practical
Cutting tools: cheaper
Tools: cheaper, more practical and fashionable
Iron products (including nails, iron wires and steel): cheaper, the quality is comparable to or better than British products
Wool products: more fashionable styles

Due to the continuous improvement of the quality of German-made products, British goods are not only threatened in the overseas market, but even the domestic market has been rushed into by German goods. Between 1883 and 1893, German goods sold to Britain increased by 30%. Because its products are so popular in the UK, some German companies have also opened their own branches in London, such as piano manufacturer Bechstein and sewing machine manufacturer Pfaff.

Until the end of the 19th century, German-made products such as Aspirin, Cologne 4711, Odol, Faber-Castell pencils, and Mecklin train models Mrklin), plush toy Steiff (Steiff), piano Bechstein (Bechstein) and Lange's watches (Lange) and other brands that still exist today have matured, and have dwarfed similar products produced in the UK, "Made in Germany" This once shameful imprint was transformed into a beloved golden sign.

Irreplaceable brand
The quality is reliable, durable, and timely delivery. At the same time, it also has a high degree of reform connotation and mature production technology. Since then, these excellent qualities have become the rich connotations of the golden signature "Made in Germany".

At the same time, Germany's reputation as a trade secret thief and product imitator no longer exists. The "Made in Germany" that once humiliated Germans has become synonymous with excellent structure, solid installation and lifetime availability. The Germans are also proud and proud of this.

Twenty years ago, WMF, a German brand-name kitchenware company, set its sights on China and opened its first branch in Guangdong. However, the products produced in Guangdong, China, must eventually be shipped back to the WMF headquarters in Geislingen, a small town in the Swabian mountains in southern Germany, for quality inspection, and then labeled "Made in Germany" and exported to countries around the world. Including China.

As a model of "Made in Germany"-Porsche cars, there is now a model of off-road vehicle production site using the logo of the German city Leipzig, which reminds consumers of "Made in Germany". However, the body of this model is produced in Slovenia, and the seats are from Japan. Although the overall installation of a car in Leipzig is several hundred euros more expensive than in foreign countries. However, Porsche President Weidekin thinks it is worthwhile. He said that if this kind of car is not installed in Germany, at least a few thousand euros less will be sold. More importantly, if there is no mark "Made in Germany", "we will lose the most important quality label, which is a damage to our products."

The watch production in the old glass factory in Dresden in eastern Germany declined from the East German period to the early reunification of the two Germanys. Today, it is showing a trend of revival. Since glass factory watches have no trend to follow, they have become real luxury goods in the market. Now, the brand of this kind of watch is called "Glass Factory True Color", and the label is "Handmade in Germany", which is in line with Swiss watches. Germans think: "Switzerland can make the best watches in the world, and so can Germany."

At the beginning of 2004, EU International Trade Commissioner Lamy suggested that in the future, the products of EU member states will all use the "Made in EU" logo regardless of country. It is believed that this is conducive to fair competition among enterprises from all countries in the EU, and it also plays a role in transparency for users. However, German entrepreneurs and politicians believe that this may cause the demise of a technical standard symbol. At that time, the chairman of the German Industry Council, Zogowski, said, "We are proud of our quality seal, and we refuse to use the unified EU production mark" and insisted on marking German products with the "Made in Germany" mark.

The "Made in Germany" fairy tale has long been a reality.

The article is reproduced from "White Horse V Perspective"


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