Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Made (Kosher) in China: The Business Experience in the Far East: Made (Kosher) inChina

Rachel Bachrach

It used to be that a businessman couldn’t get a kosher meal in the Far East for all the tea inChina. Today that has changed. It’s possible to eat well, daven well, and, of course, do a little business in the country that has become the manufacturing center of the world.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

There’s a reason Chinais known as the workshop of the world: More than one-fifth of globally manufactured merchandise is produced in Chinese factories. Manufacturing stateside is significantly more expensive than offshore, so many businessmen prefer developing and producing their merchandise in theFar East, where costs are lower, workers can be found in abundance, and quality doesn’t have to be compromised.

While Jewish businessmen have been taking advantage of doing business in mainland Chinafor centuries and in Hong Kong since the 1850s, frum business travel to the Far East took off after World War II, with the main thrust escalating in the ’70s. The early pioneers faced challenges like lack of kosher food, spending Shabbos alone, and davening without a minyan, but now it’s a different world with a host of amenities for the frumbusinessman. Major cities and commerce centers have shuls, restaurants, and kosher grocery stores, and some even have yeshivos and mikvaos.

Shiya Zeitman has been traveling to theFar Eastfor almost 35 years. When he started, he worked for Lenoxx Electronics, which produced merchandise inTaiwan, but after the Taiwanese revalued their currency, many businesses moved to Hong Kong andChina. Mr. Zeitman, who is now the COO of Creoh Industries, still travels to theFar Eastevery other month. His home base is in Hong Kong, which is an hour’s travel fromChina, because that’s where many of the agents and middlemen conduct business.

Mr. Zeitman’s offshore manufacturing experiences of the ’70s and ’80s are very different from those of Eli Sitt, the principal of children’s clothing company Baby Togs. Mr. Sitt, who has been in the industry for more than 20 years, began traveling to theFar Eastat the turn of the millennium. Baby Togs recently set up an office inChina, and Mr. Sitt travels there several times a year for seven to ten days. He likes to stay inShanghai.

Here, the two men share their stories, comparing the Jewish experience in theFar East30 years ago to today.


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha. To sign up for a weekly subscription click here.




Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"