Peter Hessler’s article, “Manufacturing Diplomacy,” delves into the little known world of China’s myriad owners of small manufacturing enterprises who strengthen ties with the United States. It has reminded me once again, that while headlines shout hostile words between the United States government and its rivals, more human events continue out of sight. Hessler, who is now living in Chengdu, China with his family, brings to life the ways of how small manufacturers use their skills to connect with customers in the United States. One, Li Wei, a shoe manufacturer, uses Google Trends to research the American market, provides low cost shoes they can afford and reads his customers’ reviews for leads about what matters. As he noticed Americans mentioning “pets” a lot, Li Wei joined with a friend to create a new product line—pet clothing.
Well written and full of human detail, this is good, informative reading.
“Manufacturing Diplomacy: While political leaders trade threats, Chinese factories have strengthened ties to the U.S.”. The New Yorker, March 15, 2021.