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 werenât 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. âOur reputation has been damaged lately by these recalls,â Thomas A. Debrowski, Mattelâs executive vice president for worldwide operations, told a Chinese consumer-products safety official. âAnd 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
This kowtow isnât a sudden outbreak of good manners or even responsibility at a Fortune 500 company. Rather, itâs a sign of how the balance of power has shifted between massive American consumer-products...