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China wants to emphasize quality over cost

"Spirit of the craftsman" policy can backfire by risking the country's competitiveness

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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said during his recent visit to Belgium that Chinese companies need to cultivate the "spirit of the craftsman" to improve quality.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- As China finds itself solidly established as a middle-income country with a per capita gross domestic product near $8,000, it faces the same challenge as other nations that have progressed to this point: namely, raising the quality and sophistication of its products to distinguish itself from lower-income countries while trying to attain the same status as richer nations.

To do this, the country's leaders have resorted to the type of sloganeering popular with Japanese manufacturers. And it appears to be working, as the new rallying cry of "spirit of the craftsman" is gaining traction. It was one of the top 10 words and phrases in China last year.

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