Walking the path of Ugg Boots from sheepskin to foot

May 21, 2014

I bought a pair of Ugg boots a few years back at Big 5 for less than $30 to keep my feet warm.

I didn’t consider where the boots were made, and I never intended wearing them to go shopping or outside. Since I work at home and save money by leaving the heat off on cold days, my feet get cold so it made sense to wear a pair.

Uggs don’t appear designed for outdoors, yet I see many young American women looking sharp shopping in Ugg boots. It seems to be a fad that isn’t going away, and I wanted to know where Ugg boots came from and what it cost to make a pair.

I discovered the previous video on YouTube of a factory in China where the material and labor come together to make Uggs. The conclusion of the description below the video says, “These boots are the most cheap and excellent quality boots in the world.”

The New York Times recently reported “The salaries of factory workers in China are still low compared to those in the United States and Europe: the hourly wage in southern China is only about $1.19 (15.2 RMB) per hour.” Chinese factory workers often work overtime as long as sixteen hours a day six days a week—and many Chinese are not complaining because they work long hours. Why? They want those extra hours to earn more.

For a comparison, the US federal minimum hourly wage is $7.25, which pays about $15,000 a year for a full time job not counting overtime or hidden benefits if there are any.

By the way, Numbeo.com reports that consumer prices in the United States are more than 46% higher than in China. In fact, restaurant prices in the US are more than 75% higher than in China.

In China, the Ugg factory workers in that video are probably earning less than $3,700 (US) annually and working twice the hours to keep those Ugg prices down so American women and men could buy a cheap pair to look stylish while shopping.


This is a video explaining how to detect fake Ugg boots

After I watched this video, I checked the Ugg boots I bought from Big 5, and discovered they were fake. Does that mean they weren’t made in China?

Who makes a profit from the real Ugg boots? Deckers Outdoor Corporation holds the Ugg trademark in more than 100 countries worldwide and reported sales of $689 million US dollars under the Ugg brand in 2008 and sales were up in 2009. Source: Source: Wiki.Ugg Boots

How many Americans would be willing to pay four or five times the price for a pair of Ugg boots so those low paying minimum wage jobs could come to the US?

Then, how many Americans are willing to work for the federal minimum wage without benefits? Not many since there are more than eleven million illegal aliens in the US working those jobs.

So, if you live in the US, next time you hear political ads or someone bashing China for stealing jobs from Americans, look in a mirror.

The Walking Company sent me an e-mail advertising “Zealand” slippers (another “Ugg” style product) on sale at 70% off.  Instead of paying almost $65 a pair (not counting the sales tax), I paid less than $20, bought four pair and discovered when the shipment arrived that the “Zealand” product line was made in China instead of New Zealand.  But that shouldn’t surprise anyone because even most Ugg shoes are produced in China.

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Lloyd Lofthouseis the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Comparing Economic Growth: China versus India

May 13, 2014

Chris Devonshire-Ellis wrote a convincing piece at China Briefing back in October 2010 that India‘s economic growth would speed past China in the near future.  It seems that many in the West are convinced that democracies are superior to countries ruled by authoritarian governments.

Chris said, “It (India’s) growth rate could overtake China’s by 2013… Some economists think India will grow faster than any other large country over the next 25 years.”

However, several years later, we discover that Chris was wrong. In February 2014, the BBC reported, “India’s economy growth slower than expected.” During the four years starting with 2010 through 2013, China’s GDP grew from $4.99 Trillion to $8.23 Trillion compared to India’s growth from $1.365 Trillion in 2010 to $1.8417 Trillion by the end of 2013.

The foundation of this prediction was based on India being a democracy “where entrepreneurs are all furiously doing their own thing” while China is a culture of secrecy and censorship. Chris mentions a few of China’s other flaws too, which China is working to overcome.

What Chris doesn’t mention is the fact that economic development in India follows socialist policies including state-ownership of many sectors—something China learned long ago doesn’t work, and then there’s the difference in poverty and illiteracy between India and China.

India and China both became independent about the same time—China in 1949 and India in 1947 and due to Chairman Mao’s policies, China suffered horribly from 1949 to 1976 and progress was slow. Than Mao died and China changed dramatically.

India, on the other hand, has had more than 60 years to solve its problems and hasn’t made much progress primarily because it is a democracy often mired in political partisanship and corruption. India is actually rated more corrupt than China but we don’t hear much about that.

Let’s see what each has accomplished in reducing illiteracy and poverty.

The World Bank says, “That China’s record of poverty reduction and growth is enviable. Between 1981 and 2004 the fraction of the population consuming less than a dollar-a-day fell from 65% to 10% and more than half a billion people were lifted out of poverty.”

For India, the World Bank reports: “poverty remains a major challenge. According to the revised official poverty line, 37.2% of the population (about 410 million people remains poor, making India home to one-third of the World’s poor people.” UNICEF shows the poverty in India to be 42%.

World Bank studies also established the direct and functional relationship between literacy and productivity on the one hand and literacy and the overall quality of human life on the other.

India’s literacy rate was about 12% when the British left in 1947. Today, literacy is 68%.

When Mao died in 1976 after a decade of suffering through twenty-seven years of mostly wrong-headed reforms ending with the Cultural Revolution, less than 20% of the people were literate, but today literacy is more than 93% with a goal to reach 99% soon.

As for India succeeding, MeriNews.com says, “At a time when we (India) are poised on the threshold of becoming a superpower, the rampant malnutrition and prevalence of anemic children and women to the extent of 48 per cent of the population is a definitive indicator that we have failed as a democracy in ensuring the fundamental requirements of our citizens.”

It appears that China—with censorship, secrecy and its one party government with a capitalist, market, consumer driven economy—has done a much better job of taking care of its people. India, on the other hand, has six national political parties and 54 political parties at the state level. Considering that America has two national political parties that can’t agree on much of anything, it’s a wonder that India gets anything accomplished.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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China may be putting on the brakes for the world’s trash

April 16, 2014

There are more than one hundred thousand people working in China’s recycling industry, and it’s a hard way to make a living—even more so now that China’s central government is implementing stricter environmental laws.

However, trash and recycling are a big business in China. Some estimate that it is a fourteen billion dollar business for a family driven cottage industry.

Long hours of hard work add up to a living wage for the Chinese involved in this recycling business.

According to a recent United Nations report, “China now appears to be the largest e-waste dumping site in the world.”

The collected recyclable material is taken from the city for a few hour drive to factories where the trash is turned into raw material for a second life.

In fact, “We sell this plastic to Foxconn,” a recycle worker says.

And the recyclables just don’t come from China’s cities. It comes from all over the world, since China is the world’s largest importer of trash.

Computers and bottles tossed in recycle bins in the US, often show up in China where they are processed then resold as a new product to Western countries.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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China’s IKEA Sleepover

April 1, 2014

Zach Honig, a former editor at PC Magazine, writes a Blog called Tech, Travel and Tuna.

While in Beijing, Honig remembered a piece he read in the LA Times about Beijing residents loving IKEA but not for shopping. Curious, he visited the IKEA in Beijing and saw how popular IKEA is in a snoozy sort of way.

In fact, I sympathize with the Chinese snoozers.  Have you ever slept on a “hard” Chinese bed?


Love after the first bite.

Honig also mentioned that he ran into China’s Net Nanny since he couldn’t access his WordPress Blog, Twitter or Facebook, which includes anarchists scheming to bring down orderly societies. There is some truth to that.

Meanwhile, the IKEA snoozers have not slowed expansion plans in the Middle Kingdom since IKEA plans to increase the number of stores in China to 18 by 2015. The first store opened in 1977.

The current sixteen IKEA stores in China saw 15 million visitors in fiscal 2012 (or should I saw snoozers). IKEA also owns a 49% share of Inter Ikea Centre Group that builds shopping centers and is planning to spend billions to build more malls in China.


Bargains at IKEA Shanghai store

The BBC ran a piece about IKEA in China: Store or theme park? As one Chinese customer said, “Every time I come here, I stay for the whole day and have lunch here.

And “Products have also been redesigned with Chinese customers in mind – little things, like deepening bowls so they can hold rice,” the BBC reported. “Every store in China features mock-ups of the tiny apartments common in many Chinese cities, kitted out with Ikea products.”

Another factor is the Chinese save then pay cash for most of what they buy. It is estimated that Chinese households have accumulated $16.5 trillion (valued in US dollars) in assets.

Don’t forget to drop by Zach Honig’s Blog and see his photos of snoozing IKEA fans in Beijing. The link is at the top of this post.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


China’s Silicon Valleys (plural)

March 25, 2014

In You Can’t Build a New Silicon Valley Just Anywhere by Margaret O’Mara, writing for Foreign Policy magazine (August 16, 2010), she said, “for many of the would-be silicon cities being constructed by the Russias and Chinas of the world; with their long histories of centralized control, they are still convinced they can order up success.”

O’Mara’s theme is that the success we have seen in California’s Silicon Valley is due to the freedom America’s republic—now a democracy—offers along with loads of money from the government and venture capitalists with no strings attached.

However, there’s evidence that democracy isn’t needed for innovation, because China (ruled by Emperors under an autocratic imperialistic monarchy) was more technologically advanced than any country on earth for almost two thousand years.

In fact, a recent December 4, 2013 issue of the Wall Street Journal reported that “Beijing’s Zhongguancun district is “studying the style, personality, management and funding of (America’s) Silicon Valley. What’s more, they reject China’s traditional top-down corporate model, deference to management and emphasis on size.” In addition, successful high tech companies in China want to branch out to be more than just a Chinese company.

After all, the Chinese invented the stirrup for saddles which revolutionized warfare on horseback, gunpowder, the multistage rocket, the compass, paper, the printing press and pasta along with a long list of other innovations that changed the world.

Without the Chinese, where would the world be today? See Chinese Crossbow and other Inventions

China may not offer the same individual freedoms the West does, but “face”, which is important in Chinese culture, is a strong motivator to improvise and invent so one gains “face” and becomes powerful and wealthy.

Before Deng Xiaoping and the “Getting Rich is Glorious” generation that he gave birth to, I would have agreed with Margaret O’Mara but not now.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


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