Lately I've had a string of failures in products that I have recently bought that were made in China (a.k.a. the PRC) culminating this week in two of the more spectacular incidents. First the ASOMETECH ASX9 100W 8 Port USB Charging Station popped a capacitor and then the ANENG SZ09 multimeter shorted out its two batteries. The former failed from using poor quality parts, the latter was a terrible design of the control knob that shorts the battery when it is slightly adjacent to the OFF position.
The problem wasn't specifically to do with the country of manufacure (my iPhone and Macbook are made in China and are very high quality), but I thought I'd add some diversity to where I source my stuff.
“Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” - Anna Lappe
I already do things like paying attention to ingredient labels for health reasons or even paying more for products that are ethically sourced. I also like to support small local businesses. Buying things from China supports the CCP and I'd prefer not supporting an institution that tacitly supports Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine, acts to destabilise its neighbours in the Pacific, wantonly pollutes the environment and inhumanely treats its own citizens. China is definitely not the only country that does those things and this isn't a political blog, so I'll leave it at that.
Finding tech gear that's not made in China is actually quite difficult. Replacing the ANENG meter with a Fluke doesn't guarantee the product is not made in China. Not to mention that it's virtually impossible to find a replacement for the ASOMETECH charger made anywhere else with those specs and the nice display.
As a bit of a project I started looking into how to source such items from other countries, but since there is no requirement to list country of manufacture for most items, it's actually quite hard to do. Moreover, some items are simultaneously produced in multiple locations - and even then, it's often the case that many of the internal components are sourced from China.
Below is a list of sites I've found that can help someone looking to buy electronics that were manufactured in countries other than China.
My view is that avoiding products Made in China is not xenophobic, racist, not against a race and not against Chinese people in China or abroad. It simply is a small act to avoid supporting the Chinese Communist government agenda and heavy handed tactics used against even their own people.
After doing some online research, I went with the EEVblog BM786 Multimeter which is made in Taiwan by Brymen and is a specially branded version that supports the EEVBlog YouTube Engineering Channel by Australian video blogger David Jones. It's a very solid, well designed and full featured device that's got that unbreakable feel like my trusty vintage Fluke 77 Series 1 that I've owned since new. The Fluke stays in the HAM shack these days so the BM786 will be great in the tool bag. Although the BM786 is more expensive than the ANENG, I would have actually saved money if I just bought the Brymen one first to begin with.
As for replacing the multi USB charger, I ordered the very pricey j5create JUP43130 130W GaN 4-Port Charger which I was lead to believe was also manufactured in Taiwan (based on Country of Origin being listed as Taiwain in the Amazon AU listing - as well as the large print "All our products are manufactured in Taiwan, which has been a global force in the electronics industry since the 1990s." which is also given in the listing). I obviously got the Australian plug version which is actually the exact same item as the US plug version but with an additional adapter to convert it to the AU plug. Unfortunately, it's Made In China, so it will go back and I'll need to find another source. Given how much more the j5Create product is over the obviously cheaper generic Chinese ones, I would have expected something a bit more obvious (as far as features, or even just packaging copy) to justify the increased cost. If you know of a good one not Made in China, drop me a note with the Contact link at the top.
For my next try for a GaN charger, I tried some Gigastone products as they are a Taiwanese manufacturer. Unfortunately both the PD-7650W and the PD-130W arrived with boxes [PD-130W] | [PD-7650W] marked Made in China as well as on the devices [PD-130W] | [PD-7650W] themselves.
I got a reply from "j5create AU" apologising for claiming the product was made in Taiwan. They have now updated the listing to accurately display the place of manufacture as China.
Posted: 20-Apr-2023, Updated: 19-May-2023