With the rise of ‘Made in America’ labels, many consumers are rightfully concerned and wondering the same thing— why is our furniture manufactured overseas? We’re not just talking about China. Many Asian countries are a part of a mass manufacturing furniture hub that seems to prevail in modern furniture stores. Of course, the simplest answer is one word: money. The cheap labor and the virtually never ending supply of materials make up the most common reasoning behind Asian countries producing large quantities of furniture.

Labor Is Cheap

We won’t argue the principles behind cheap labor, but Asian workers get paid significantly less for working in mass production factories than workers in America. We have established a reasonable basic hourly wage that our companies need to adhere to when hiring workers on a mass scale. This is not a profitable outlook for furniture companies that are going for quantity over quality. They need to create a profitable sliding scale that enables retailers to sell goods at a low price. After all, every month many stores host sales in order to clear out stock and make way for new products. As you can see, this business model is not one that’s effective.

Asian Countries Are Lax On Furniture Toxicity

Most consumers aren’t aware of this, but a lot of the furniture manufactured overseas contains a highly toxic chemical known as formaldehyde. This chemical can cause birth defects, and in high doses, even cancer. Asian countries, such as China, don’t adhere to the same regulations that American manufacturers are forced to. America closely monitors the effects of chemicals in our products, but this can also raise the price of furniture. Cheap chemicals are often necessary to mass produce low-end furnishings at an alarming rate.

Large Quantities Are Viable

In America, we don’t have the number of factories and workers that it takes to mass manufacture furniture. This fact alone makes it easier to outsource furniture production to foreign overseas countries. China and Taiwan are among the leaders in the manufacturing industry as they have the local labor and the means to produce furniture quickly. There’s a high demand for affordable furniture in America, but as we don’t have the labor, cheap materials or the factories, overseas production is the best option for now.

No Copyright Control

It’s no surprise that Asian furnishings are very similar to designer products and cost less than their brand name counterparts. Though overseas countries are able to produce high quality goods, they also manufacture off brand products that are very similar in design to brand name furnishings with lesser quality materials. In short, they don’t have to worry about breaking copyright laws or getting sued by designers. For this reason, manufacturing overseas is common practice and even if designs are ‘borrowed’, not much can be done about it.

Overseas manufacturing of furniture is unlikely to die out anytime soon. In fact, you’ll find that the reason most items are made in China is to cut costs and labor.