Chinese made goods

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Ok, where to begin..
Lets start by saying that while I hold the view that Chinese people are as able and talented as any nation of people, there are at least two levels to Chinese manufacturing. There are premium quality goods as manufactured and imported by well known brands who have an image and a market share to protect and as such have good quality control measures in place. Then there are the 'questionable quality goods', which you could probably subdivide into several different catagories from 'adequate' to 'down right excrement'.
During the late 90's it became apparent that many of the goods offered for next to nothing in market stalls and in Aldi's and Lidl's bargain isle were often of decent quality. That covers a whole range of products from powertools to underpants and as a result people became less suspicious of those goods generally because the majority of it was ok.
Roll on 15 years or so and several things have taken place. A high number of western manufacturers have relocated in part if not entirely to China. A global recession with increased financial pressures on everyone, including the Chinese has taken place. Sterling is less strong in the international currency markets, so UK buying power has fallen. Comodity prices, (That's raw materials to you and me) have increased drastically in price. The demand for ever cheaper goods continues but how do you make goods cheapers without compromising quality? The answer to that one very often is 'you can't'.
Back in the day when we started seeing a plethora of cheap, often high quality goods on the market, there was really a sense in which the Chinese were trying extremely hard to gain respect and credibility in manufacturing among their international trading partners in the UK, the USA, Canada, Germany and so on. Many manufacturers were put under cost pressure and once companies started relocating manufacturing to China, many followed suit because of the cost incentives as well as wishing to remain competitive with the other companies who had already moved.
But now, although the quality of premium goods generally remains high, the quality of the questionable quality group of products seems to be falling and something which you bought in 2002 cheaply and were pleasantly surprised with, wont necessarily be any good at all now. That isn't to say it definitely wont be good but it is certainly the case that there is a very significant chance that it wont be, certainly a far higher chance than before.
I  get the distinct impression that the Chinese don't feel they have to try as hard now because they have come to believe that they don't need to try as hard to impress people anymore.
So what am I saying? Well, simply this: Be much more cautious when buying unbranded and cheaper goods on Ebay and also from other sources. You may be able to return the item but you don't automatically have the right to your return postage being refunded and to be honest, it's a bit of a pain in the bottom having to go to the post office to return an item for a refund.
You might want to add into this scenario that China has been becoming more and more wealthy and is going to overtake the USA as the world's largest economy  fairly soon, whilst the communist party in China still retains a very low regard for human rights. In the short term, the availability of cheap manufactured good may seem very appealing but I would add a note of caution in that once China is sufficiently large and powerful, they may start calling the shots and ultimately your own human rights may be in question. If manufacturing companies in the west became more aware of a desire by people to buy products made closer to home, they would be more inclined to bring manufacturing back. This has been happening on a small scale but more is needed if we are to grow the jobs and security which we all rely on.
Remember, if it looks like fish, tastes like fish and smells like fish, it's probably fish! 
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