“Made in China” products have flooded the market. You will find them everywhere… electric razors, jackets, toys, bags, beds, shoes, cameras, golf clubs, coffee machines, dive watches… there are all kinds of products that are made in China, and you will find them both at the flea market and the swankiest retail outlets. So it’s no wonder that many of the modern-day scuba gears you will come across are also manufactured in this Asian country.
But the fact is that, quite often, many Chinese goods fail in quality. In fact, the most common complaint about them is that, Chinese products are inferior in quality to their western counterparts and they don’t work for as much time as well. In other words, they have lower shelf-life. So, consider this when you are buying your scuba gear. It would be good to save money, yes, but not at the cost of risking it.
5 Things No One Told You about Buying Scuba Gears from China
- Some Chinese goods are just clones of popular gears you will find in the west. There are some companies that will make in China and sell cheap B-quality goods, but without logo. So, there cannot be any guarantees and warranties when you buy them. The quality testing mechanisms in China might not also be as stringent as they are in the western world.
- Yes, it is a fact that some of them are Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) for a few popular brands in the west. However having said this, many of these manufacturers have now started to make and brand goods under their own names. They will often keep the price lower than the popular brand version to boost their sales, but the problem is, the quality is inferior too. So if you have to buy cheap goods, make sure that it’s from a popular brand, even though it was made in China.
- Many western brands that make in China have been victims of quality fade. For instance, Vince Bourke of Pocket Buoy has pulled his manufacturing from China after repeated problems with cracks in fittings. Quality fade is not an honest mistakes made by a suppler. It is the strategic practice of a manufacturer that deliberately and secretly lowers the quality of materials to maximize the profit margin. While it can be annoying if the coating peels off a dive knife, when it comes to a part like your OPV spring, it can be deadly for a diver. Some goods are even returned to dealers with complaints such as a broken spring in the Over Pressurization Valve (OPV). After inspection, often it is found that the springs in the OPV exhibit an unacceptable amount of corrosion. Diver safety can be compromised as a result.
- If you want to buy really cheap Chinese goods at wholesale prices, then the best place for this is the Alibaba website. However you should know that most dealers you will find at Alibaba are keen only about wholesale orders. So you will probably have to order in bulk.
- The scuba diving market is growing in China very fast. The Chinese dive market is calculated to be approximately US$12.5 million in size. The largest dive resort in the world is located in Hainan Island. 28,007 PADI certifications were issued in 2013, which is a 300% growth from 2011. About 3% of PADI’s global certifications were in China. We can only hope however that the quality of their scuba gear improves with time.