I am asked just about every day what I think of China made connectors and why should our connectors cost more. I am told the China prices are cheap and that one can even get free shipping or close to it. Here is my take on it, your mileage may vary of course. It is only my opinion.
Back about 20 years ago I walked through the downtown shop (hobby shop primarily) and said to my wife ..." is everything we sell in the hobby part of the shop now made in China ...?"
Sadly, yes it was. Only about 2 out of every 100 items could be found to be made in the USA, the rest came from China or Taiwan, etc. Talk about a shocking revelation! And that was 20 years ago!
I once read a book called "Poorly Made In China" which related a tale of the typical China mindset and business overview. It was spot on. The book is shown in the image, if you have not read it and buy or use items from China you may quite well find it interesting to read. Get it on Amazon or from other fine book sellers.
Since that time, in our lab and test room we have tested 100s and 100s of China made connectors since RF gadgets are our main focus. The China products are, after all cheap and appeal to a lot of buyers based on that cheap price. What we find in testing is that there are a few that actually perform well and many others that would be more suitable for water pipes than RF. Somedays it is simply fun to see what is called a connector. We can pretty much run the gambet on testing these things, we do routine spec checks and measurements even of our own brand of connectors, which are not from China by the way.
So the question, "is buying connectors from mainland China a bad thing quality wise" takes on meaning when performing tests. What we find in the answer is how or what the company is and in our opinion there are three different scenarios concerning China.
Scenario 1 (poor) - The connector is sold by multiple concerns (1000s perhaps) using a variety of weird seller or company names. I mean really, you are going to buy serious connectors from some sort of weird named company that also sell socks, makeup, well you get the idea. You find the same connector on each seller's offerings and all at rock bottom prices. These are made in what we call non controlled production houses. Made of mystery metal and dielectrics and the sole goal is to move as many of the connectors as they can, as fast as they can, provide little to rather poor performance and give you something that looks like a connector and of course, with all the run around customer service you can stand.
Scenario 2 (better) - This connector, should I say, often but not always performs on a consumer grade level. Meaning, if you are a casual user you probably will be ok, but not so much in serious work. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. Expect that. So in these cases, the company is often named a more cohernet name and doesn't have many other selling partners, usually. To that end the sellers pay a bit more attention to detail and performance, but again there are many of those sellers who simply do not know what performance is or should be. They are priced higher of course that scenario 1. And production is a bit more controlled. But it can still present a grossly inferior product made of mystery metals and dielectrics.
Scenario 3 (best) - This is where well known US companies and others of course produce in China. You know, even some of those companies that most everyone thinks doesn't produce in China. The difference here is that their production is overseen closely by the company management with onsight hands on inspection. Their product has certain specifications and they can readily meet them. The company has the production costs squared away, and the cost is lower in China even with the managed oversight. The selling price will however be still fairly high but you are going to get a good connector.
So what about Taiwan. Isn't that China also? Well, yes but no. At least not at this time. This can be good or bad depending just like mainland China, but over all a Taiwanese connector will be pretty good. They have this stuff down to a good science. You can quite frankly buy junk from Taiwan but there are many reputible lines of production in Taiwan and not just for connectors and such. Ask our auto makers, computer chip users, well you get the picture ... it is a good thing Taiwan can produce quality products. But it is a matter that you need to know about who you are dealing with. Much like anything else actually.
Connectors are in fact made all over the world, some still here in the states which is a surprise. We even have some specialized connectors made in Switzerland due to the complexity and metals. Our connectors cost more than the low ball China connectors simply because they are made better, meet our specifications and quite simply are a real connector.
So, buying your connectors from mainland China? Know what you are doing!