Chinese Spa Exports Pose Problem

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Scott W

High Notes, Low Notes

Just thumbing through the issue before it goes to press . . .

There's a story on selling spas abroad and the international spa market, with a few things you might not know about, including the growing strength of Chinese spa exporters.

Even small children in America have learned the sad legend of the Asian manufacturing invasion, which dates back 50 years or more. And nobody needs a refresher course on how enormous factory-cities in China are able to decimate a manufacturing sector through rock-bottom wages and open scorn for environmental concerns or worker rights.

A well-informed industry veteran, who does business all over the world, told me recently that the number of Australian spa manufacturers had dropped by 60 percent through an infusion of cheaply made and even more cheaply priced Chinese spas. Such numbers are always fluid and their explanations complex, but the gist is unmistakable, and needs no elaboration. We've seen this before.

North American spa manufacturers are in a much better position to compete, with 40 years of experience and strong dealer networks in place. Still, there's no doubt that somewhere in the ministry of economic conquest in Beijing, there's another red circle around North America.

There's a little sidebar on page 44 about this.

Not everything in the magazine is a threat. On page 59, award-winning builder Charles Wise tells his wife, Merry, what he's learned about putting together really beautiful, natural-looking poolside rock formations. Then she tells us.

One part I like is where he says that you need to order an extra 20 percent of rock to be able to pick and choose just the right pieces that will work and fit together. Then return the rest.

I wouldn't have thought of that.

And have a look at the story on water testing stations on page 32, too. They're great marketing tools, and seeing how other dealers use them can help you clarify your own strategy.

That's it from here.

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