I am quite curious about Chinese-based companies, and I know there are prejudice
when it comes to products coming from them, but I would like to know, from the
perspective of who have experience using their products, how did their products
fare in the long run. My interest in robotics has just grown, and a friend
recommended me to have this site, for starters, as a reference:
in case I
would like to pursue building one in the future.
Looking forward to your inputs.
Thanks in advance!
If you go back many decades, electronics from China or Japan were justly considered inferior. Now they both produce at least some good stuff. Though, in my experience with LED intelligent lights for DJ's and in projectors, they consistently exaggerate the brightness to an extreme level. Most consumer cannot test this, so they can get away with it. Ebay and Amazon both are quite accepting of this fact in spite of the complaints. In fact, most of the small LED DJ lights that I have are ones I ordered from either Ebay or Amazon. When I find that the claimed brightness was, at best, half of what was claimed, I would initiate a return. But, it wasn't worth it for the seller to pay for a return label. So, they let me keep it. They are OK for puppet stages.
As for other circuits, just recently went through a process for a voltage step-up circuit. No instructions, the technical info on the description was inconsistent, and the dealer couldn't provide any details. At least he didn't try endlessly to talk me into accepting various offers of a partial refund, like most Chinese sellers. Note that most items like this are sold by a few companies that have a zillion different registrations on Ebay or Amazon. But, really are the same company. And most of the sellers that have U.S. stock, really are based in China.
So, in spite of claiming to be a pure socialist, or communist government, they are quite happy to be involved in a capitalist system, where they just assume it is evil, so it is OK to be evil when dealing with us. Under Socialism/Communism, all businesses are government run and controlled. Criticism can get you permanently labeled a troublemaker, and perhaps even some "re-education" in jail. So, there is certainly no motivation to point out any problems with a product.
So, you either accept that things may not be up to spec and unreliable, or you fully test the item to know if it is. There are some parts suppliers that are truly U.S based. And even if their stuff is manufactured in China, they do limit themselves to products they know to be reliable, or they lose out financially. That is the most sure way to go.
I should add that there is more than a little friction building up in that part of the world. China has expanded its territory by building up an artificial island in the China Sea, and is threatening to invade Taiwan.
So, if you are designing for a production of many items, and war breaks out, you may find that Chinese parts can't be obtained. So, there is some motivation to find alternative sources if possible.
But, if you are a hobbyist, the risk is a lot less. You may do well with the very cheap Chinese stuff.