What Does Made In PRC Mean?

The phrase “Made in PRC” is appearing on more and more goods being sourced from China. This tag has confused many people who wonder what the PRC is, and why this is appearing instead of the “Made from China” tag on dropshipped or outsourced products they were expecting.

This article dives into what PRC means, how it’s the same/different from Made in China, what that means for those of us sourcing products from China, and what dangers we need to be aware of with this tag. 

What Does Made In PRC Mean?

Made in PRC stands for Made in the People’s Republic of China. It is a way of clearly marking a product as made in China but by using the initials of the full country’s full name this disguises where the products come from.

Although not completely fair since many good high-quality products come from China, let’s face it, there have been a lot of low quality, cheap products that come from Chinese factories, as well. Because of this it didn’t take me long to figure out that Chinese goods in many sectors have a reputation for low quality, and you have probably run into this assumption yourself, as well.

Add in the fact that large parts of the population in large markets like India and the United States don’t want to buy from China, and the PRC mark is a way that many Chinese manufacturers have used in order to get around these problems.

Most people are fairly lazy and aren’t going to dig into what PRC stands for, and at first glance most people don’t think “China” when they try to figure out what PRC represents.

This gives your products a chance to get a fair shake from customers who don’t have an automatic visceral reaction to the “Made in PRC” label since for the common consumer this obfuscates where it comes from.

Difference Between Made In China vs Made In PRC

From a practical standpoint there is no difference between “Made in China” vs “Made in PRC.” The goods come from the same country, are made the same way, possibly even from the same factory or manufacturing base.

The main difference is in marketing with many businesses seeing “Made in PRC” being the better labeling option to avoid any potential whiplash from angry consumers. While I appreciate good marketing, this does lead to some problems we need to address.

Is Made In PRC Legal?

Labeling individual items as “Made in PRC” is legal on the manufacturer’s end, and it’s been seen as a clever way to get around anti-China market bias. The problem is when it comes to international shipping, this oftentimes is not legal, especially on the outside markets of any shipping box or container.

Takeaway: Made in PRC is illegal to use when importing to the United States. The country’s name (China) must clearly be shown on the box.

In many countries the outside of the box must be marked with the country of origin in the language of the country it’s going to, and the United States is one of those nations. This makes it illegal for a box to be labeled “Made in PRC” when shipped to the United States since that doesn’t specifically denote China.

Acceptable Abbreviations

Trust me, you don’t want to be on the wrong side of Customs. If the boxes or crates the sourced goods are shipped in are labeled “Made in PRC,” then plan on getting a visit or some unwelcome paperwork from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Their bylaws clearly state the country of origin must be clearly labeled in English and any abbreviation of a full name must still have that country of origin clearly spelled out.

Legal Shipping Labels (According to U.S. Customs)

  • China
  • P.R. China
  • China, P.R.

Illegal Shipping Labels (According to U.S. Customs)

  • P.R.C.
  • People’s Republic, C.
  • Made in PRC

Illegal Abbreviations

The outer shipping crates must have “China” written clearly in English. Any abbreviation that didn’t have this, such as the popular “PRC,” would be an illegal abbreviation for shipping containers.

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Why Do Manufacturers Use Made In PRC Instead Of Made In China?

The Made in PRC is mostly used to get around the “Made in China Stigma.” There are many large groups of consumers who don’t want to buy products made in China. Whether because of politics, international relations, or just bad experiences with poor products, it doesn’t matter, in their minds products made in China = pass.

Made in PRC Avoids The Low Quality Stigma

Hopefully any products you’re sourcing are going to be well built and high quality. Some consumers might never give it a fair chance if they see that China label, and I can’t blame anyone who’s had that experience of a toy, a product, anything that broke within days with that label on it.

If a simple label of “Made in PRC” can get around that stigma, it’s smart marketing but the problem is when it’s not legal on the receiving end.

Made In PRC Is Better For Marketing

Having the Made in PRC label instead of Made in China helps to avoid bad marketing or press. Any time there’s a surge in anti-China sentiment or local stories about jobs being shipped off overseas, avoiding any potential blowback by having the PRC label is going to be extremely beneficial.

Made in PRC Has Become Common Labeling Practice in China

For many Chinese manufacturers they have made the switch to labeling sourced items as Made in PRC and since sellers have no good marketing reason for wanting it changed back, the switch is made before products are ever received.

Most people won’t do the extra work to see what PRC stands for, they’ll just be satisfied it doesn’t say “China” and go from there, making that labeling a smart move for most businesses.

Frequently Asked Questions about Certificate of Conformances

There are several common questions about how Made in PRC works in regards to Certificate of Conformances.

Is Made In PRC Better Than Made In China?

On the consumer level or marketing level “Made in PRC” tends to get a better response. However, it’s not worth the risk of illegally labeling a shipment and then getting Customs involved. That’s a headache none of us need or want to deal with.

Is Made In PRC Acceptable?

This depends on the country where the items are received. It is acceptable on China’s side for shipping items out, but shipping containers coming to the U.S. must be labeled with “Made in China” or you’re in violation of U.S. Customs.

If the end destination is not the United States, check the shipping laws of the end destination to find out for sure.

What Country Name Is PRC?

PRC stands for People’s Republic of China, the full name of the nation of China.

Analyzed by Jon Elder

Jon has sold over $10 million in sales on Amazon since 2014 and exited 5 Amazon brands for millions. He now helps Amazon sellers experience the same level of success through 1:1 coaching. He is happily married with two kids in Texas!