A derogative phrase that describes something to be of sub-par quality. If something is "Made in China", it was probably very cheap, and likely to break within a day or two after purchasing. Usuallly synonymous to crappy and shitty.

The roots of the term can be traced back to the post-World War II era, when small goods manufacturing in America declined to give way to cheaper imports from Asia. These goods were much cheaper due to the lower wages and costs of manufacturing in Asia, but as a result is usually of sub-par quality, as the workers there are most likely less trained than their American counterparts. At first, the phrase was "Made in Japan". However, as Sony products got famous, it shifted to "Made in Taiwan", "Made in Hong Kong" and "Made in Korea". That was before China entered international trade, and those three countries were responsible for a large part of America's import of small manufactured goods.

In any case, as China opened up in the 1980's, the aggressive pricing of Chinese exporters removed most of the competition of the Asian-American trade, in the realms of cheap, easy-to-make goods anyways. Taiwan still dominates in micro-electronics, and Japan and Hong Kong still outnumber China in more high tech products. Made in China then became representative of "low-quality" imported goods.

My take is this. If you don't like it, don't buy it. Made in America does not necessarily mean better quality, and personally, I'd prefer a Japanese DVD player than an American one. Wait, I haven't seen an American DVD player for sale yet. The reference to Made in America can only be seen as a patriotic sales pitch made to appeal to buyers, using a pseudo-impression of a more robust product.

Me? I'm buying all my shit in China, becaise it's a lot cheaper. Where else can you find genuine Nike shoes for US$10, certified beanie babies for US$2, and real Calvin Klein jeans for US$12? Have your Made in America products for five times the price. Hey, chances are that the materials were made somewhere else and the products were assembled in America anyways! That's what those Dell computer parts said.

The materials of this product were made in Mexico and the product was assembled in America

Gotta love the Dell sales department.