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.
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