Something you might not know about Chinese work glove industry

In the following section, I am going to list a few real things about Chinese work glove industry.  They all come from my own experience and thinking. I hope all of you will enjoy to read them. People who are new in this industry might find most interest to read them.

Large factory makes good quality and small factory is limited to low quality

If you had some experience, you would find most large factories have better quality gloves with higher price and small factories have low quality with lower price. But that doesn’t necessarily mean small factories do not have the capability of making high quality gloves.  Customers usually associate factories with large size with good quality  and associate small-size factories with bad quality. They give more trust on large factories.  Small factories started late than large factories and do not have any accumulation of customers. So in order to survive in this industry,  they have to leverage low price to win customers. But supplying low quality gloves means you have to face the strong competition in this lower end market. Finally these factories find themselves trapped in this loop. They are not able to find a way to stop producing low quality gloves but struggling in this price war.

Most traders call themselves manufacturer

It is no surprise for traders to call themselves manufacturer. Go to their website and catalog, the introduction message emphasizing their manufacturing, say, owning 3 factories, 2000 workers. Another common saying from them is owning a share of one factory. Customers like buying from manufacturer directly rather than traders mainly because of price. They suppose factories price must be lower than traders. Many customers in trading fairs ask if you are a manufacturer when they first walk to your booth. As a trader, if you told customers the truth, you have a very big chance to lose potential orders. That’s why they hide their real status and call themselves manufacturer. Even for some successful traders, they also do this.  For experienced foreign customers, they can easily tell your trading status, but for new customers with little sourcing experience, this trick is not that easy to tell.

Recycle materials are widely used in work glove industry

Many kind of recycle materials are used in work gloves. The recycle poly cotton thread is the most typical one. Even though factory do not say to customers they are using recycle thread in gloves, it is a real case. But the word “recycle” should not always linked to poor quality . For gloves, the biggest effect of using recycle material is how the glove look like. When recycle material used in glove,  the cost is significantly reduced and then you can have a much lower price than original materials which end users more likely buy. To a certain degree, you can say recycle material actually brings value to end users.

Dexterity can be improved by adjusting glove construction

From my point of view, most Chinese made gloves have some dexterity problem. When you try to find one from 5 sizes that fits your own hand, you might realize none of sizes has a good dexterity you need. This is a glove construction problem. Most factories do not make their gloves from end users’ stand point. They might have never heard of what is called customer value. They are busy on improving so-called quality in their own eyes, never thinking of what end users really need  and want.  Maybe for them, the durability is everything which has the same meaning of quality for them. Actually it is easy to improve dexterity by changing the glove construction. Here the construction problem most Chinese gloves have is mainly about the ratio of each portion of the glove. If the glove was completely constructed exactly by the length of each hand portion, then you would be wrong. When we wear glove, the fingertips of gloves and the fingertips of our hands should have a moderate and perfect touch whenever hands are in it’s natural state  or making a fist. The glove with the exactly same length as human hands fail to reach that point.

Purchaser in big sourcing company accept bribe

This happens most likely when the purchaser of these big companies is Chinese. In small companies, the owner is the person who is responsible for purchasing. In large companies who need source big volume of gloves from China , there is a position that is exclusively for purchasing. The person who is in that position is often time a Chinese.  This person has  the right to decide who they are going to purchase from. This gives them chance  to accept bribe from Chinese suppliers. Most Chinese people don’t think bribery has to do with ethics because when 80% people in this country bribes, it then becomes a norm. Nobody care whether it is right or not. Chinese knows Chinese most and it has less barrier to do bribery between Chinese people. I have heard the Chinese purchasers from several foreign companies that is with top quantity are accepting bribe. If nobody reports them to their employer, it is hard to be detected. As their employers, they can have some  control over the purchasing price and quality, but usually can do nothing on this kind of bribery behavior or it is just hard to find an effective way to watch them.

Innovation starts from other countries but copied by Chinese manufacturers

Chinese work glove industry does not actually innovate new products. Most new products made here are actually copied from other countries. Sandy finish glove is a good example of showing that. Sandy finish glove using salt to form micro cup on coating surface,  might be first innovated by Japanese company ( my guess ), then get widespread in China. Maxiflex glove using water to form a thin coating , are also copied by Chinese factories. If you take a look at all work gloves that are being made in China, it is hard to find one item that belongs to Chinese innovation. I think most Chinese factories don’t know the right process to innovate new gloves and some of them does not have resource to do that. If they want to do innovation, they should remember innovation start from users’ need.


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