THe mark-up is lower. SUre they have to factor shipping cost on a retail basis, BUT, also the difference in how Chinese businesses view profit margins. They get their total profit from volume sales, keeping individual profits low but moving a lot of merchandise. This is a proven manufacturing strategem, but even in retail business, this is preferred by Chinese merchants. Witness how, in Manila, many of the most successful family-owned distribution or merchant stores are ethnic Chinese. Most obvious would be to shop for PC parts. Ten years ago you'd be hardpressed to find a retailer who isn't Chinese, and these are the stores that would be easy to spot: they're quiet because they're empty
Not Ford, this idea was in place long before that thanks ot the Industrial Revolution in England. Ford's contribution was in applying this to machines, which prior to this was never available, not even sewing machines, for mass consumption. Heck it took the Japanese to mass manufacture time pieces, for one thing, that's why old City Halls have clocks on them. But basically before this textiles and tools were mass-produced after the cotton mill and factories replaced individual weavers and blacksmiths.