China is putting a competitive squeeze on some of its partners that still use the mainland as a source of low-cost design and manufacturing. Good Will Instrument, a 700-person test and measurement company in Taiwan, is just one of the companies feeling the pinch.
Good Will recorded 2010 revenues of $55 million selling spectrum analyzers, signal generators and other gear as much as 20 percent cheaper than big U.S. rivals such as Agilent and Tektronix.
Now, a growing crowd of China copy cats are going directly to Good Will's global distributors with products that undercut the Taiwan company's prices by as much as 50 percent.
More than 20 China T&M companies now compete with Good Will, up from about six a few years ago. They often copy Good Will and U.S. products slavishly, right down to the look-and-feel of the cases.
"The biggest problem with the China-made products is quality," says Helena Wang, a manager of overseas sales for Good Will. "Some use used LCDs or other components, and the systems are not always well calibrated so they can give inaccurate results," she explains.
But the Chinese companies--under names such as Regal, A10 and Unichem--are getting government backing. The money enables them to send large contingents to big European electronics shows to gain market attention, Wang says.
Click here to read the full story at EE Times Confidential.
There is a Fluke China, but there still is a Fluke USA and EU for the high end equipment. Few Wellers are made in China, but their higher grade equipment is Germany, Japan, Mexico. Agilent is in Malaysia, and have avoided the woes of IP theft as others endured. China manufacturing has created a persona all its own, from low cost, to counterfeit to top notch production, but the situation there has many looking elsewhere, this has been on going for almost 10 years. All know what they gained and lost in the China milieu. This unfortunately, is not the situation of Goodwill, as a Taiwan based company the real question is how will their niche survive when the model by which they thrived: low cost T&M that isn't state of the art, are at the same level as mainland China? How much of their IP is being stolen and used by the same companies out to steal their market share?
How much of Fluke is made in China now?- more than you might suppose i Fear. A lot of big brands have plants in China- yes they are subject to origional standards- but everyone remenbers the story of the JEEP factory in china - the locals had built a clone factory right next door as the same time as the Jeep factory went up! The only way for teh west to keep ahead is keep doing R&D and innovate constantly- but im preaching to the converted!
All I can say is that you get what you pay for, and that applies to safety and compliance engineering and the circuit protection components (thermistors, movs, fuses, fusible resistors, and spark gaps) and the maintenance of critical safety spacing that go into the front end of DMMs. If I am measuring 1000V with a multimeter, I want a Fluke.
R&D is still important in T&M field and I believe price is not the only factor that keeps a company in good shape. People who is still innovative can still be the leader, of course margins may be thinner than before but it should still be high and attractive for players.
Still i think chinese have to put in their own
RnD efforts.we have checked equipment from various makers from china.Only rigol seems to
be quality product,may be bcz it is backed by
China.Goodwill of taiwan is really undisputed
Price /quality leader to date.And judging their
active RnD and increasing product portfolio
,they will remain Industry leader.
If a product can be re-engineered by just copy and assemble, I strong doubt there are a lot of valuable IP involved. In order to compete, a new company always introduces a similar product with a lower price. Yet, in order to sustain its own business, the company has to continue to improve the product. If it can't stay ahead of the game, it's going to be seen as 2nd tier and will never be able to compete effective with an innovative company.
It is really good that Chnia brings down the cost T and M Instruments. However, it is totally unetical to copy IP. China can and should design their own products from basic specifications. This may not be very expensive for company who can capture good part of world market.
Controling the copying fully is not possible. That is the reason big companies like Agilent,Tek continually improve thier product spec and its features. Those who ever update their products will be able to hold their market share. Some of the competeitve china products seems to perform equally good with long term stability.
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