WalMart is the biggest. People tend to like to go after the biggest, which then becomes the "badest."
In the U.S., WalMart's success lies in the fact that the American consumer makes purchases based only on price, not quality. Because of this, China is benefiting from the low quality goods that WalMart's customers are willing to purchase. WalMart purchases most of their products from vendors. These vendors are the ones who are sending the work overseas.
Another factor is that because WalMart is so big, they can and do have their vendors build products to WalMart's specifications, which can be less than what that vendor has done in the past.
Here is the crux of the issue... consumers and vendors are willing do business with WalMart. That is the heart of Capitalism. Nothing wrong with this. We are willing digging our own grave.
So, what is the end result of all of this?
Here is a story, that I cannot validate, but it illustrates the problem. WalMart contracted with Vlasic Pickle to purchase pickles. However, they only wanted the plain pickles in the large jar. Vlasic sold tons of these pickles to WalMart. And many people bought them at a very good price. The price was so good, that people stopped buying the gourmet pickles, in the smaller jars, from other stores, because the were willing to forego their favorite pickles, and buy the plain ones. Vlasic's sales became increasingly dependent upon WalMart. Then WalMart demanded price reductions on the plain pickles. WalMart was reshaping the product brand of Vlasic, and driving down its profits, and Vlasic had to file for bankruptcy.
Similar story for Murray bicycles.
WalMart also has the power to determine how vendors will package and even build products. Again I cannot verify this. One large manufacture of camping ice chests started selling their product to WalMart. It was a "5 Day Cooler." But consumers started noticing that the cooler bought at WalMart, did not keep food as long as the "same" chest bought elsewhere.
WalMart is very good at going into smaller markets, gaining a huge market share, and driving the competition out of business.
Lets say that you are a barber in Small Town, USA. You make $18. You are so excited that WalMart is building a new store down the street. Unknown to you, WalMart is going to include a barber shop in this store. They open, and are paying barbers $12 per hour. They are not going to attract good barbers, but there are some that are willing to work there. Your barber shop charges $18 for a hair cut. WalMart charges $6. Guess what? People start going to WalMart for haircuts. They aren't as good as yours, but they don't care. They are saving $12 on a haircut. Now your barber shop, and all the barber shops in town are forced out of business. WalMart's volume has increased, so they need more barbers. But now, they are the only one's in town who has a barber shop. So they cut their wages from $12 to $8, and raise the price from $6 to $8. Classic WalMart. They did nothing wrong, and the public and some of the barbers were willing participants in this transformation. And most of the people in town are walking around with terrible haircuts.
My last visit to WalMart, several years ago... I needed to find something, but couldn't. Finally I asked a WalMart employee, who was wearing WalMart garb, where I could find the product. Answer, "no speeky english."
Regarding product quality of Chinese goods. Try and find a shirt in WalMart that uses double stiching on major seams. Nada. Try to find one at REI or your favorite gear shop -- yep, the have them. But will your double-stiched Chinese garmet hold up as well as the one that used to be made in Small Town, USA? Probably not.
Sometimes you cannot find a product type you want that is not made overseas. Lets take footwear into consideration. I have 3 types of hiking footwear. A trail runner. No choice here, most of the known names are made in China. A light weight mid-boot, again not much choice in country of origin. The third one I own is a heavy (gasp) leather boot. I need these for certain conditions. My research found that most of the well known brands had shipped production to China, product quality decreased, and customer service became a relic of an age long past. But... the price these companies charge us has not gone down. Go figure.
A couple years ago, I decided to replace my 20 year old leather Danner boots. Danner boots are still made in the USA. And, they can rebuild my old ones for $150... wow, how many off shore companies can do this? But I wanted a little different boot, with some different features. Finally got a pair of Lowa boots that are made in Germany. Great product quality. It was a difficult and time consuming search to find a product that was not made in China.
I read somewhere that Brian at ULA, looked into shifting production offshore, where he could reduce his costs by 75%. But he passed, because he could not control the quality.
I am almost 60 years old. I have maybe around 20 years left on this earth. And they will be good ones. But I feel sorry for my kids. Globalization is going to pull Western civilization down to the standards of the third world countries. And we can only blame ourselves if this happens.