Malaysia has been trying to become the next China, so to speak, and the successful Chinese mfgrs (and possibly Japanese designers also) are "partnering" with Malaysian companies to develp their mfgr facilities and workforce. I believe they've got some major development program going with a name I can't remember.
Aside from a handful of specialty products in the multi-thousand-dollar price range (like Canon and Nikon super-zoom camera lenses), nothing is made in Japan anymore: we're lucky if its still designed there. Tokyo may as well be Secaucus NJ: just another office park in a country with no factory base. All the mfring is now done in China or Malaysia, except perhaps for the Toyotas and Hondas which are assembled in their destination markets. As far back as the heyday of DVD/HDD recorders, popular high-end models like the Pioneer DVR-520H were already being made in China. Don't even ask what Sony's been up to lately...
Last year, for my mom's 70th birthday, I bought her a 32-inch SD CRT analog television made by RCA and sold by Wal-Mart Canada. To my surprise the TV was made in Mexico and assembled in Canada and had a 2008 manufacture date. Not a bad TV for $258 new.
As to all consumer electronics I own - all made in China or Malaysia. Except for my 1980s Sony beta decks which were still made in Japan.
When in comes to broadcast equipment Sony and Panasonic still manufacture high-end cameras and decks in Japan. Much of the Sony broadcast stuff comes straight from Sony's Atsugi facilities in Japan.
You can still find things which are still made in Japan. Shimano bicycle products for example. The two highest tier groupsets of Dura Ace and Ultegra are still made in Japan. Unbelievably, everything in the groupsets are stamped 'Japan'.
In the area of pneumatic nailers, Makita and Hitachi still make a few high end models in Japan. Everybody else has gone the Far East route, including Senco.
Also one advantage of Canon is most their fairly high end camera stuff is still made in Japan, such as camera bodies and lenses. Sony is similar but only on their really high end stuff. Nikon is sorta bush league in that a lot of their $$$ stuff is made in Malaysia, even camera bodies that cost $1,000-1,500.
Back when I was using VCRs, I only bought Panasonics which were made in Japan. These were any units costing >$200. In fact I still have two recorders. They switched manufacture to the Far East around 2002 I think. The Toshibas with 6-heads provided better PQ (T-782/T-785) so I switched over to them, even though they were made in China. Still got 'em also. I have no idea when Toshiba ever made anything in Japan. Even the exalted Toshiba RD-XS line of HDD recorders were made in China! Although one model used a burner made in Japan.
Also many Panasonic portable cd players from 2002-2006 were made in Japan. I think around 30-40% were made in China, depending on the model. But you can't tell the difference from sound quality and some of the China models sound very good.
Be thankful. Road cyclists are up in arms that their $5,500 Italian bike frames are now made in China or Taiwan. Snooty road cyclists insist on Campagnolo bicycle components for their $5,500 frames. Only problem is, a lot of their stuff is no longer made in Italy but in Romania. And production is soon to switch to China on some components. They are quite defensive and insecure and are always badmouthing Shimano components (****mano), but hell, I'd rather run $2200 groupsets made in Japan than Romania and soon to be China
With regard to chinese made anything, the quality depends on how closely the originating firm supervises and controls production. Many large firms build plants in china to use the local slave-labor force but they own and control the plant and employ their own management and shift supervision. They have total control over quality, so if the product is crap it's all on them. It's the smaller firms, and larger firms that are clueless and greedy, that just contract out the specs to a chinese jobber, that you have to be careful of. chinese jobbers are notorious for cheating on specs and cutting corners to cheapen the product -- i.e. using ground cardboard as a filler in food products and adding toxic melamine to fool the protein test into spec (which is based on organic-bound-nitrogen analysis). The business journals are filled with many more examples that don't make it to the 6:00pm news.
So chinese made electronics are not necessarily bad across the board. It all depends on the company whose name is on the product and the circumstances they chose for it's manufacture. The lower end stuff is always the most suspect.
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