Considering China’s prowess as the largest global exporter of goods and services, all consumers and manufacturers must be familiar with the ‘made in PRC’ label. The ‘made in PRC’ label is the most common ‘place of origin’ label found on products all over the world.

As such, if you’re unfamiliar with the label and its importance, it’s essential to learn about the ins and outs of China’s origin affixation policies. This is especially true for all importers of Chinese goods.

Not knowing the key details of ‘Made in PRC’ labels can lead to violations of international trade laws. Fortunately, you don’t have to look far for a guide on ‘Made in PRC’. Here is ‘Made in PRC’ explained:

What is ‘Made in PRC’?

Made in PRC

‘Made in PRC’ is China’s country of origin label, which is affixed to all manufactured goods in the country. The PRC stands for the ‘People’s Republic of China’. All Chinese manufacturers are required to place this label on their products.

‘Made in PRC’ is the new alternative to ‘Made in China’. Some manufacturers may use ‘Made in PROC’. The essence of the label remains the same. Only the wordings differ, depending on the country of export and commodity type.

As such, there’s no inherent difference between ‘Made in China’ and ‘Made in PRC’. However, the Chinese government has discouraged people from using the former. Currently, most manufacturers prefer using ‘Made in PRC’.

Most international products have PRC labels because of China’s cheap labor costs and ease of shipment. The latter refers to China’s multiple trading ports, which have seen extensive modifications in the past few decades.

Why Did ‘Made in PRC’ Replace ‘Made in China’?

The Chinese government-sanctioned the change of the ‘Made in China’ label in 2014. This decision was influenced by numerous reasons. However, the most significant was the stereotype surrounding Chinese export products.

If you trade closely with Chinese manufacturers, you might be familiar with this stereotype. Most people have come to associate ‘Made in China’ goods as cheap and low-quality. Consumers don’t want to buy products that they consider ‘cheap copies’ of other international goods.

For example, Chinese electronics, in particular, are known as cheap alternatives to popular brands such as Apple and Samsung. People claim to prefer ‘investing’ in more expensive electronic items such as cell phones and tablets.

Of course, this perception is false. If it wasn’t, China wouldn’t be the largest exporting nation on the globe. Cheap labor costs don’t make up for product quality. Manufacturers would not sell their goods if their quality control wasn’t up to par.

Also, the stereotype is misleading as Chinese products are not entirely ‘Made in China’. For instance, European companies tend to make their products locally and sell them in Chinese home markets. There are multiple factories in France, Spain, and Germany that do this.

Made in PRC

As such, just because your product has a ‘Made in China’ label, it doesn’t mean it’s actually made in China. In 2013, this perception led to a huge crash in the Chinese stock market, causing the government to reconsider its branding.

The re-branding was successful as ‘PRC’ is vaguer than ‘China’. It banks on most people’s unfamiliarity with China’s full name and abbreviation.

Therefore, manufacturers that produce their goods in China can now sell better. Potential customers are less biased towards the products and don’t turn away simply due to the country of origin label. 

Moreover, ‘PRC’ is also preferable because it includes China’s full name. The government remains positive about the inclusion of the country’s full name on import/export labels. It feels like a more authentic representation of the country.

Is the ‘Made in PRC’ Label Legally Necessary?

All country of origin labels are legally necessary for import and export goods. ‘Country of origin labeling’ (COOL) is consumer law in many countries. In the US, the law has been around since 2002, having been amended in 2008 and 2016.

What Is the COOL Law?

The law dictates that all retailers are bound legally to inform consumers of a product’s country of origin at the final point of sale. Therefore, if you omit the label, you can receive a fine or get your trading license revoked. The punishment differs, depending on the country you live in.

Why Is the COOL So Important?

Well, the label originally focused on agricultural imports and exports. Of course, with perishable goods, the need for COOL is obvious. You need to know where a product came from to ensure timely consumerism and justify price points.

As you saw with the Chinese stereotype, consumers associate COOL with higher or lower quality products. As such, they’ll only purchase products they believe are worth their money.

Of course, this means that no one is going to pay higher prices for imported food such as nuts, spices, and meats unless they know their country of origin.

However, with time, the COOL law extended to all sorts of import and export goods. It is necessary to establish authenticity. Retailers have a responsibility to maintain transparency with their consumers.

What Qualifies As COOL?

Restaurants and small-scale retailers such as grocery stores are usually exempt from the COOL law. However, all other retailers must abide by the rules. According to most international policies, a COOL must either be printed, engraved, or tagged on the product.

Moreover, the COOL must also have visible placement, font, and size. Of course, these factors differ, depending on the type of product.

On clothes, the COOL is either engraved or tagged on the back. Similarly, on food items, the COOL is usually found stamped on top of the product’s packaging.


All in all, ‘Made in PRC’ is the COOL for Chinese products. Over 370 manufacturers have begun using the label since the rebranding in 2014. The new branding has allowed China to recover its lost stock tenfold.

All this just proves that Chinese products are top-notch and worth investing in. The bad stereotype surrounding these products is simply untrue. This doesn’t mean Chinese products can’t be cheap or of low quality.

It simply means that both retailers and consumers should avoid judging Chinese goods on their COOL. If you want to assess product quality, focus on manufacturers and the physical characteristics of their products.