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Author Topic: Can the Japanese withstand the Chinese Radio onslaught?  (Read 8115 times)
WA4D
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« on: August 06, 2012, 07:10:49 AM »

Does the entry of Chinese VHF/UHF HT manufacturer Baofeng portend a shift in the hardware of Ham radio? A ham showed me his  $50 Baofeng UV-3R. A Dual Band HT that a few short years ago would  have been priced over $200.

A $50 dual band radio is basically a throw away radio.  The blistering pace of change in these ever smaller/feature  rich "intercom" radios means that new functions are added to each release model continuously. How  often do one of the "majors" (Kenwood/Alinco/Yaseu/Icom) release a new HT?   Annually?  And now that the Chinese have entered the space, the bottom has fallen out of the price floor.  And  simultaneously impacted the used market.  Yes, some of us will cling  to our favorite brands for several more years, but it's clear the economics will soon overwhelm nostalgic preferences.

Kenwood  is about to release  what looks to be a worthy successor to it's long and distinguished history of Amateur radios.  The hotly anticipated TS-990.   One wonders is that the end of the Top of the HF line for Kenwood (and others)?  For if the Chinese enter the HF space with their seemingly "how low can they go?" prices--- the impact could be damaging to the majors.  It will be  fun to watch.

I'm guessing the High end of the HF segment might be "a bridge too far" for these 'hit and run'  Chinese electronics manufacturers. Still their  presence  should be worrisome for traditional Japanese Amateur radio companies.

mike/wa4d.net
« Last Edit: August 06, 2012, 07:16:51 AM by WA4D » Logged
AA4PB
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« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2012, 07:56:29 AM »

Maybe the Japanese will outsource the construction of their designs to the Chinese?

I expect when it comes to the higher end stuff that the cost of components may have an impact on cost.
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2012, 09:12:37 AM »

Question is can the Japanese manufacturers survive on "high-end HF" equipment alone?
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G0VKT
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« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2012, 11:13:33 AM »

In my opinion the low end HT market is an easy target as the designs can be used for commercial, business use and unlicensed. Quite a large market to recoup costs!

Dedicated / high end equipment will come I am sure. The Japanese did it. But, it might be a few years yet. Economics when hitting a new market is king.

I have not used a Chinese HT yet, but those UK Hams I know who have are more than satisfied for the price and the audio I have heard is fine. If I need one then it is a no brainer. Who needs to spend a fortune for an HT? Cross band repeat, ARPS etc is not not much use for the average ham. An HT is for repeater use and short range comms. Who needs all the bells and whistles?

Break it, lose it - no problems at the price!
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M6GOM
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« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2012, 11:24:16 AM »

Wouxun's new dual band mobile offering is priced smack in the middle of Yaesu and Kenwood but without many of the features or the quality. It'll fail because it was expected to be a budget model but they appear to have got dillusions of grandure.
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STAYVERTICAL
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« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2012, 01:00:33 PM »

Are you willing to gamble away $50 dollars - most people would take the risk.
How about $1000 with unknown reliability and quality - even if the alternative is to pay $1700 for a name brand?

I have been caught many times in buying cheap, only to regret it.
By cheap I mean built with compromises - not just inexpensive but a good product.
Now I only buy quality - whether in Diamond SWR meters or antennas for example.
Items may look the same - but even copies are not the same in the end result.

Having said this, even name brands make some items in China (look on the box), so they just take the extra margin as profit.
I have bought many chinese electronic products which are very well constructed and work great.

Take MFJ - I love this company - it is like a crazy emporium of ham products - a cornucopia of choice.
But, many buyers have lamented over quality control problems, even though these products were made in Mississippi.
Personally - so far - I have been in the lucky group which has never had a problem with MFJ products - but some have.

I also remember the days when "made in Japan" meant a very poor quality product - one to be avoided.
Dr Deming who introduced quality control into Japan is counted as a hero by Japanese industry.
His take on business practices was profound and readily took root in Japan.

One of his many quotes:

"Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them."
W. Edwards Deming

When we stop boasting about our Kenwood, Yaesu and Icom transceivers - they will be in trouble.

73 - Rob


« Last Edit: August 06, 2012, 01:03:38 PM by STAYVERTICAL » Logged
W2IBC
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« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2012, 01:32:06 PM »

Maybe the Japanese will outsource the construction of their designs to the Chinese?

I expect when it comes to the higher end stuff that the cost of components may have an impact on cost.


some have already moved some manufacturing to china.. ironic as soon as that happened.. all the cheep knock off rigs started pouring out of china...
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K1CJS
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« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2012, 05:02:05 AM »

There will always be quite a few hams with the money and the brains to realize that those Chinese made rigs come from a country who laughs at the copyright and intellectual rights laws that other countries hold dear.  Those hams will never buy such rigs until the Chinese companies agree to obeying and upholding the laws that the rest of the civilized world do obey, no matter how cheaply priced the rigs may be.

Could well be that there isn't much to worry about anyway--the new Wouxon mobile rigs are priced above comparible Japanese offerings that have more features.

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KCJ9091
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« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2012, 06:57:23 AM »

Are you willing to gamble away $50 dollars - most people would take the risk.
How about $1000 with unknown reliability and quality - even if the alternative is to pay $1700 for a name brand?


73 - Rob




In this particular case I was glad I did.  In March I was working Grid at an SCCA race.  It was the weekend of the winter Monsoon.  I put my $600 Motorola back in the truck and stood out in the pouring rain and wind with a $50 UV3R in a zip lock bag.  The Motorola was spared the abuse, the $50 radio performed above expectations, and had it got wet and failed so what.
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KG6BRG
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« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2012, 07:13:34 AM »

I've got 2 Wouxun transceivers, about $105.00 shipped with a Li-on battery, drop in charger, programming cable, and programming software.  North American support with an 18 month warranty.  They work as promised, not much to dislike. They are about 2 years old and zero issues, great build quality.   I've sold off my Japanese H-T's.  Dont miss them. cheers.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2012, 09:47:31 AM »

This American/Japanese/Chinese subject looks more and more like a lesson about karma! 

I remember when the term "Japanese Junk" was synonymous with anything the Japanese made.  Not only was it junk, a most of it were copies of an American product, without concern with copyright laws or patents.

Now the Chinese are doing it and again, in many cases, without concern with copyright or patent laws of other nations.  What's more, we're now using the term, "Chinese Junk" more and more.

I think within the next few years the Chinese government will enact the same laws the Japanese did.  Anything produced for export must pass a rigid government or 3rd party inspection.  This is when the Chinese will become a serious game changer.

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KD0REQ
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« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2012, 12:13:13 PM »

Yaesu has had to move some production to China after the Fukushima Dai'ichi nuke plant debacle.  seems enough component makers floated out to sea that it was not worth cleaning up their assembly plant in the area.

Japan is going through the US blues, as we did in the 80s... production will start moving wherever it's cheapest, and the manufacturers are going to try and hold down the fort by designing and moving chairs on the Titanic deck at home.  good luck with that.

where offshoring production has worked for some major Japanese companies is building where ther market is.  reference Toyota and Honda with their US plants humming along on 2 and 3 shifts.

so is it possible that Yaekencom will end up in Starkville, Mississippi?
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K0JEG
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« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2012, 05:46:15 PM »

Yaesu has had to move some production to China after the Fukushima Dai'ichi nuke plant debacle.  seems enough component makers floated out to sea that it was not worth cleaning up their assembly plant in the area.

Japan is going through the US blues, as we did in the 80s... production will start moving wherever it's cheapest, and the manufacturers are going to try and hold down the fort by designing and moving chairs on the Titanic deck at home.  good luck with that.

where offshoring production has worked for some major Japanese companies is building where ther market is.  reference Toyota and Honda with their US plants humming along on 2 and 3 shifts.

so is it possible that Yaekencom will end up in Starkville, Mississippi?

Not wanting to get too political here, but that's basically why inflation is considered good for business. If you devalue the dollar through printing more of them, you basically make labor cheaper by paying people the same amount but with "cheaper" dollars. The problem with China pegging their currency to the dollar is that every time we print, they print. This negates any attempts to devalue our labor pool to remain "competitive" in the world marketplace, since the Chinese are mirroring everything we do. Not passing judgment (although read between the lines to know what I think), just pointing out one explanation why production shifts from one place to the next.

Japan's been trying to devalue their currency for about a decade now, with mixed results.
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KG4NEL
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« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2012, 09:54:27 AM »

There will always be quite a few hams with the money and the brains to realize that those Chinese made rigs come from a country who laughs at the copyright and intellectual rights laws that other countries hold dear.  Those hams will never buy such rigs until the Chinese companies agree to obeying and upholding the laws that the rest of the civilized world do obey, no matter how cheaply priced the rigs may be.

You make it sound like there are no copyright or trademark suits brought in the US  Grin

But if there's to be a boycott, it doesn't make any sense to stop at radios. Everything from lightbulbs to jeans.
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KG4NEL
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« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2012, 09:59:45 AM »

I also remember the days when "made in Japan" meant a very poor quality product - one to be avoided.
Dr Deming who introduced quality control into Japan is counted as a hero by Japanese industry.
His take on business practices was profound and readily took root in Japan.

One of his many quotes:

"Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them."
W. Edwards Deming

"It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory."  Cheesy Deming has some gems out there.

What's amazing about Deming is that he tried his ideas at home first - US industry, in its postwar, Galbraithian-haze of dominating the world marketplace, told him to go take a hike. The Japanese had the patience for long-term production planning; they were facing years of rebuilding anyway.

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