Why Mattel -- and other major American companies -- must save face with China
Sept. 21, 2007 - When Mattel recalled lead-tainted toys in August, and earlier this month, the company was quick to blame its suppliers in China. It was as if Mattel werenâ€™t responsible for the quality of products sold under its name.
But today the toy giant changed its tune. An executive offered a public apology to China and Chinese suppliers. â€śOur reputation has been damaged lately by these recalls,â€ť Thomas A. Debrowski, Mattelâ€™s executive vice president for worldwide operations, told a Chinese consumer-products safety official. â€śAnd Mattel takes full responsibility for these recalls and apologizes personally to you, the Chinese people, and all of our customers who received the toys.â€ť
This kowtow isnâ€™t a sudden outbreak of good manners or even responsibility at a Fortune 500 company. Rather, itâ€™s a sign of how the balance of power has shifted between massive American consumer-products...