Another comment. We have a pond that we use for irrigation. I installed a 4" Grundfos 15gpm submersible pump to pump the water. Pump worked well (no pun intended) for a year or two, then the motor shaft splines sheared and the motor spun in the housing. Pump cost about $750 as I recall. Bought a new motor for about $250. That one worked for a year or so and did the same thing, plus a bunch of the impellers broke. Grundfos is Swedish and had a Franklin Electric motor (US made?). After the 2nd break, I got a Chinese 4" submersible pump and used that. It also worked for a few years and then impellers and motor eventually failed. That pump cost $300. Got a bunch of spares and just swapped the bad parts. 1/2 hr job to swap parts since it is on the surface. Recently our well pump went out. It was a 25gpm Flint & Walling. It lasted about 17 years. That one was US made, I think. Because of the expense involved and expertise needed in pulling the old pump, and installing a new one, I had a well company do the work. They installed a Flint & Walling pump, made in Mexico. The galvanized pipe came from Thailand. My old pipe was most likely US made, but not sure. It lasted 17 years and was still ok, but we put new pipe in just to be safe. We got a 5 yr warranty on the pump and paid about $4,000 for the job ($2,200 for the pump, the rest for labor, pipe and parts) and had water again a few hrs later. Was it worth it? Will the Thai pipe last 17 years? I did not know at the time, but the pipe is not covered under the warranty. If that fails, I have to pay for the labor involved. Now I have a new Chinese pump sitting around, ready, just in case for the well too. It cost about $400. Why didn't I put that in to begin with? I did not want to worry or headache or problems involved in pulling a pump, not knowing what would happen (dropping the pump down the well, pipe breaking, etc.) or not having water for an extended period of time. Now that I know how it's done, I know what is involved and can deal with it in the future. Of course, if the pump fails in the next 5 years, they will replace it, but I still have to pay for labor. So - USA, Sweden, Thailand, Mexico, China, $2,200, $4,000, $400, $300. I can put a lot of Chinese pumps in the well for $2,200 (5.5 to be precise) ....What was better?
About a month ago my I-Phone 5 arrived. It was manufactured and shipped from ZhengZhou China.... so far so good.
Historically I was a die hard BlackBerry user but I think the quality of the Chinese made I-Phones is pretty good.
I think it comes down to price (not where its manufactured) cheap is cheap whether made here, there or in-between.
The old adage you get what you pay for comes to mind.
Here are a few more companies that manufacture in China so I think it is all about getting value for what you pay versus "quality" .
I recall a documentary some years ago showing a Chinese worker making replicas of the terracotta soldiers buried with the First Emperor in Xi'an. He boasted that his copies were as good or better than the 2000-year-old originals. I refuse to blame him for not feeling as some of us do, that "originality" is a key ingredient in value. Likewise, if we hire a Chinese factory to make a product in the cheapest possible way, and do not include quality as a criterion, we have only ourselves to blame for the poor results.
Just spend a few seconds examining what you are about to buy. It can allivate a lot of the problems but not all of them... Nothing like having a bolt break and noticing how that nice shinny new metal is brown muck junk on the inside.
I've many time bought cheap junk that I knew was going to be used once or destroyed in the process of using it so I didn't care.
I do have a harbor freight chop saw with an abrasive blade on it I use for cutting metal studs with. The thing has been around a while and is pretty tough.
Nomad, you are exactly right.
Generally I can tell how isolated from reality and how educated a person is from talking business with them very briefly. There are those they say they can't believe this person XXXX said they could do service XXX for $ and they couldn't complete the job. Well you probably asked for a low price to begin with and this is possibly the problem here.
The more formal education a person has, the LESS they understand capitalism. On average.
Another thing, maybe, most important thing we are missing that labor/workmanship value varies much in capitalism world. Say, in USA, there are 2 craftsmen of whom one of them X is (luckily or whatever) having good income and living condition while the other Y is having financial problems for whatever reason (unluck, foolishness, etc.) Even their workmanship qualities are equal, Y will ask for lower price from his customer than X as Y is having trouble in living. This is nature in capitalism.
China, actually, formalized the capitalism by keeping their all labor costs low.
But, this isn't the only reason why Chinese products are lower priced comparing other parts of the world.
Low labor cost is the last reason in low prices of Chinese products.
Three reasons why the prices of Chinese products are low are:
1. Material cost (they pay, say, 1/3 of world material prices due to state police support.)
2. State policy supports for manufacturing works (to make large population work.)
3. Labor cost.
Therefore, no any in the world can compete with any manufacturer in China. Even same material & workmanship quality item will be made in China for much cheaper. The only thing left to competitiors to compete China is ideologial issues; nationalism, etc. But, today in global world, in micro economic scales, such ideological tools won't work as well as before. What we can do (Chinese too can do) is to make new, innovative items which are not available in the world yet. In schools, they say "almost everythings are invented, it is competition time." This is wrong, there are many machines/equipments/tools which are still primitive or unavailable, but, needed. Just to give an another example; Cherry picking equipment/machine. Even in very developed countries, cherries are still picked by hand, by heavy labor works.
Hit or miss. You are casting dice with quality. It seems like they have multiple factories, all in different provinces, making the same product.
One factory has happy, skilled workers, a quality inspector who takes his job seriously, and uses decent materials.
Another factory is run by a slave driver with a shouter foreman and QA inspector taking bribes, and material substitution is rampant.
You have almost no clue which one your particular widget came from.