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· Chassis/Vehicle Dynamics Engineer
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@JuddS you have two recent posts that appear to be very ineffective and counter to selling any parts, yet alone safety critical parts, from your sources. Of note, nearly every single part of a chassis system is safety critical...meaning if the part fails there is a high likelihood of serious injury and death.


Your two big recent posts summarized:

  1. Lack of Ethics (in favor of profits) outside of the USA
    • This was your general “counter” to @ezmaass’s strong logic and reasoning for part origin in the rotor thread.
      • No one argued with you.
      • Not a good sales pitch for safety critical parts because this lack of ethics applies to every aspect of design and manufacturing also. Not just ones that somehow don’t affect safe function.
      • You are arguing this for today not 20 years ago.
      • I can prove many other countries in the West are in line with our standards.
    • This thread was deleted in which I actually wish it was left up...and just delete your theatrical club pictures.
  2. Alibaba is the Wild Wild West and Getting Scammed or Stolen Parts is Par for the Course
    • You note serious steps taken and Chinese speaking teammates to at least not get scammed...and yet you still have no idea regarding the safety of the parts.
      • And you note having no recourse if you get scammed or have faulty parts.
    • Again, you are arguing for this all today for safety critical parts. Not 20 years ago.

@ezmaass once again laid out specific and clear reasoning for why Alibaba or non-OEM parts would not work for him.
  • This included value of his time.
  • And many others echoed his reasoning boiled down to safety critical parts.
  • Stolen goods and IP

You make long arguments stating 1&2 above. And yet claim “racism” for anyone who pushes back on buying from unknown sources you note that don’t have the USA’s ethics while being for safety critical parts of unknown origin that has a strong likelihood of being a scam. Please, stop with the woke cancel culture playbook.
 

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I've been biting my tongue for quite awhile now. I was personally affected by a critical safety item not being made as specified by poor Chinese manufacturing, and it was actually a US manufacturer (Groco) that had started to manufacture seacocks in China, and the contracted Chinese factory didn't use the correct materials as specified by Groco. For those not into boats, seacocks are the valves that allow seawater intake or discharge - think cooling water for your engine or drains for the cockpit. This is potentially the stuff to sink your boat. Does this mean that all Chinese manufacturing is crap? Of course not, but it does show that even when a manufacturer with a good reputation attempts to setup offshore facilities, a level of control is lost, and you are at the mercy of the ethics of the contracted parties.

So, when you go off to Alibaba, what do you get? You really have no idea. It might be great, or it might be a complete scam. You have no recourse if the latter. As to counterfeit car parts, it's rampant, and it's all over the place. I'd wager that car parts are one of the most highly counterfeited items out there. Check out this quick YouTube video search. Some great videos showing the real deal and the fakes. If you were just handed one of these, would you be able to tell?


And we're not even talking about what's happening to the global supply chain and where your hard earned money is going and what it is supporting. Look at China's movements towards Taiwan, treatment of the Uyghurs, and Xi's statements about China becoming the dominant world power. I don't feel warm and fuzzy supporting this. I'll happily pay more to buy a quality product made elsewhere. And don't you dare call me a racist. This has nothing to do with race. I don't care who you are or what you look like, but I do care about your actions and conduct.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Ok, so I'm back to a laptop. For those of you who get angry at posts or think this is all trolling, I'd ask that you simply don't read this anymore. No need to get your blood pressure up because you disagree with someone on the internet.

So here is what I have heard on this thread. We are leaving the brake thread in the past because the mods deleted it and I won't be subject to censors telling me how to post, when to post and what to post. I would have posted everything in that thread if it was still up and running so that I could post all the proof, but that's another story for another day.

A few on here I perceive as thinking that everything made in china is junk. Most seem to believe that there is good and bad. Others think that things being made in China can be great quality, but inspection is the problem.

I am of the opinion that there is good and bad and that if you take caution to vet who you buy from and how you buy it, you can get the great stuff at severely discounted prices and its worth it. Now, on a small scale its not worth the time for most people. It's simply not. Let me give an example with solar panels though. You can buy solar panels and inverters and racks from a US company. They buy it from a Chinese company and then do quality inspection and deal with import and shipping and all that. You end up having a higher probability of not getting junk from the US middle man and you tend to pay about 3 to 4 x what you pay if you buy directly. But, you can meet the people and companies that make them and then buy directly from them if you check the quality and ship it directly to yourself in the usa. There is an entire industry in china built around quality control checks because virtually no one in the USA understands the cultural differences and how you check quality.

In the USA, you mainly assume the other guy is not trying to screw you. In China, you assume the other guy is actively trying to screw you. For example, if I make a deal with a us company, I'll buy some product, start to build the relationship and then simply increase the orders with time and assume they will give me the same quality each time. When I work in China, I assume that as I buy more they are going to screw me at the exact point that i'm most vulnerable. So if I buy 500 units and then 10,000 units, I assume I'll get screwed on the 10,000 units and that is where I need to focus the quality checks. Keeping to the solar industry for purposes of this example, I'll hire a company in China, CES is the one I like, that has a US owner and a Chinese owner as partners. They will ask questions, send people to the factory before, during and after production and then spot check a certain and fairly large percentage of the product. If I'm buying 10,000 units, I'll also make sure I have a pre-order in for a bigger shipment after that so that the people I am buying from think that its better to screw me on the next shipment and not this one. It's a different mentality.

In terms of car parts, its a bit different. I find people who work sourcing car parts and then skip the inspection process but do have chinese colleagues vet the company by a very minimum of a phone call and references. This is what I did on my brakes. And I told them if they came out perfectly legit, I'd buy another 10 pairs and if those came out legit, I'd perhaps buy another 100 pairs. What happens in this case? I get legit parts for 75% off and I end up spending a few dollars (quite literally) for the labor and verification. When buying containers it gets more complicated as you even need to negotiate the freight insurance from different points so the container doesn't go missing. Most of shipping companies want FOB (freight on board) where the insurance starts when the container gets to the ship deck (literally not before) and as a buyer I need to make sure its insured from the factory and that they don't give me an empty container!

The statement that its only a good deal if you get the exact same stuff for a lower price is exactly right. I don't want to be the guy who gets ripped off as that happens a lot. BUT, there are great deals on alibaba for legit parts that are factory made and to spec. That is the point that I have been making since the beginning and that is the point that I stick to.

So, I will say it again, Alibaba can be a great resource for legitimate parts if proper precaution is taken. Most people don't have the ability to verify and if they have not been purchasing from China for many years, I would suggest staying away from it. I would not buy stuff like the guy in Milwaukee sells because he is making upgraded parts and if I buy an upgraded part, I would have no way of knowing if they did it correctly. However, for a legit, branded product direct from factory, it can save a lot of money. Of course my comment about them not rusting because they are direct from factory and not old was a joke (and I thought a pretty good one), but for all of you who say there is no way to get a good deal from alibaba, I am telling you I disagree completely and it can be a good source of high quality well priced products. I just personally would not buy knock offs like the carbon piece referenced as I'd be too concerned it would show up and not fit my car.

The IP comments were also interesting, and I don't really agree either. I think China is eating our lunch in tech and is going to eventually rule the world for the next several thousand years mainly because they make all info as gov't property and get it all by any means necessary. It's not the best for profit for the companies, but in my opinion its the best way to run a country to dominate. We even had a head of AI at the CIA quit because he said we have no chance against China in AI at this point. It scares the hell out of me, but is a fact of life. In the USA, google and others have it and don't share with the govt who can regulate it and control it. Now we have the ex-CEO of Google all freaked out about the AI they are creating and dedicating his life and cash to figuring out how to stop AI from killing us all. Its freaky and I'd prefer that, for both national security and safety, the govt knew more about what those companies are doing and tried to regulate it. It's just as scary as the cold war where we are now sanctioning Russia and also donating millions of dollars to help them try to stop the old nuclear waste from getting in the hands of the bad guys. According to our government, we helped Russia stop something like 300 smuggling attempts last year alone. That freaks me out.

Yes, there is crap in beauty, medicine, etc but virtually every single thing in america has roots in China. Where do you think 80% of the antibiotics in the USA come from? Its all china sourced (or like 80%). There was a great piece from a think tank I like not too long ago that when we get into war with china, all they have to do is stop providing source chemicals for our medicine and we are doomed.

So, again, I come back to the fact that there is crap in china, there is a more thorough verification process needed for anything purchased from there, and you can get great parts from alibaba if done right.
 

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Its sad that comments are made without even the slightest attempt to verify. Most generic medications are made in India not china. A pharma company would not allow the most critical stages of a drug manufacturing process to happen in a country with a long history of stealing IP. Many car parts are indeed made in china and are good quality and are done with exclusive deals with the manufacturer. These reputable companies would not bother sending cheap stuff on Alibaba when they can get much more money selling it to the car manufacturer. The Chinese are not stupid people, like everywhere you sell your product where you can get the most profit over time.

For some people, no amount of rationale discussion of facts will change their mind. Just look at the current political situation. So we should just let the OP believe whatever makes him happy and move on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
@Famorel I agree with almost everything you say.

"Most generic medications are made in India not china" - I agree. Its the source components that come from China. Or is that wrong?

"A pharma company would not allow the most critical stages of a drug manufacturing process to happen in a country with a long history of stealing IP." I agree. India does the manufacturing in large part.

"Many car parts are indeed made in china and are good quality and are done with exclusive deals with the manufacturer." - I agree and this is why buying on Alibaba can make sense.

"These reputable companies would not bother sending cheap stuff on Alibaba when they can get much more money selling it to the car manufacturer." I agree that the companies do not market them on Alibaba. Does that mean they don't get sold on Alibaba?

I think there is a lot less verification in China and so a lot of stuff gets done that would never happen in the USA.... like finding great deals on Alibaba.
 

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No problem for me if you buy your rotors and shocks there but then just tell us how they function.
DickAss rotors anyone?

I would elaborate further, but am currently on a company computer and do NOT want to type THAT into the search bar.
 

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I'd like to explain why I am such a big fan of Alibaba for all sorts of things including car parts. I really think people on this site, in general, have very little experience in dealing directly with suppliers in China and therefor just dont get it. I also think there is a heafty amount of racism but thats another matter.

Ive been working, visiting, sourcing material and even lived in Hong Kong for a while working at a bank financing letters of credit for cargo shipments coming out of the manufacturing hubs bound for the rest of the world. I buy several containers a year directly from suppliers for my primary business and would say I have a pretty decent understanding of chinese culture and how to do business with different cultures.

Alibaba is kind of like amazon but much less regulated and looked at more as a place to meet other vendors before negotiating a deal off the platform. Its not like you are buying FROM alibaba, you use the site to meet people who then sell to you. Amazon kind of works the same in that you can buy from vendors who ship stuff to you from their house or you can buy from sellers who set up an amazon shop and even people who have amazon warehouse and ship their product. Amazon also has their own products. To be an amazon vendor you need to go through their vetting process and ive been through it for a small coffee business i set up (and lost money on like an idiot). You need a company like an llc, bank accounts and credit cards in the company name and you need to have an online interview on zoom where they make you hold up your drivers license and really check you out a bit. They have some standards and if you scam someone using amazon, at least they know who you are and they can sue your company in us courts and perhaps win. Its legit.

Alibaba is different. Anyone can post for sale and lots of very big sellers post on there as do people who just want to sell one thing they have in their garage. So, yes, you are A LOT more likely to get scammed on alibaba but you are also much more likely find a direct manufacturer who can sell you legit parts for rock bottom prices. But good luck suing a guy in china if you get screwed over a fake $2,000 carbon part.

I have no idea if the genuine rotors i bought were from some guy at factory who stole them, from a plant manager who had excess he kept off the books or if the plant was allowed to sell them direct. And if I got scammed, I would have no recourse.


So, its not like buying on amazon but also is somewhat similar. You can directly contaxt the seller on alibaba and in fact should do it. When I buy off there, I have one of my chinese employees contact the seller and talk to them and verify its not a scam. If an english spealer does this, i dont think it works as well or at all. Alibaba sells all over the world, i think like 80 countries and is a major player. They have a lot less revenue than amazon and a lot less employees also. Its less regulated, but also a much better option for direct from factory. They have less revenue because often you do one deal on the site or meet a seller there and negotiate a deal directly.


This is a very dumbed down and short explaination typed on my phone, but for those who simply hate alibaba for whatever reason, you dont make sense to me. A comoany doesnt make billions of dollars a yesr witj consistent growth because it has no value....
Great post, it's great to see someone who has a lot of experience and insight on working with Chinese suppliers and how to navigate the Alibaba platform. I think it's important to note that as you mentioned, Alibaba is different than Amazon in terms of regulation, but it can also offer great opportunities for direct from factory deals and rock bottom prices.

It's true that there is a higher risk of scams on Alibaba but you also have more potential to find a direct manufacturer. It's also important to have a good understanding of Chinese culture and business practices, and having a Chinese employee to communicate with the seller can be a good idea.

Alibaba is a major player in the e-commerce world and it's not without reason, as a company doesn't make billions of dollars a year with consistent growth because it has no value. It's great that you have shared your experience and insight on this matter, it will be helpful for many people who are considering using Alibaba for their business.
 

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I imagine you are like a state sponsored writer of content. Seriously what's your story? I'm fascinated to know.
Thank you for your kind words! I am not a state-sponsored writer, but I am a business professional with experience in working with Chinese suppliers and navigating the Alibaba platform. I understand the importance of understanding Chinese culture and business practices when working with Chinese suppliers, and I am happy to share my knowledge and insights with others to help them succeed in their own businesses.
 

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Judd, I think it goes deeper than the platform for most people. As you pointed out, Alibaba, like Amazon, is simply a marketplace. Those marketplaces have rules, and as you point out, Alibaba has less safeguards in place. But, that's somewhat immaterial, as the real issue isn't the marketplace - it's the business environment, culture, and history of products coming from China.

It's well known that China has a bit of a history when it comes to IP theft and knock-offs. In some cases, when the product, itself, is being manufactured in a Chinese plant, it may simply be a matter of whether you're getting the product with a brand name stamped on it or otherwise. But, in many other instances, there are factories simply knocking off products - lesser quality, lesser materials, using stolen IP, branded illegally to look like the real thing, etc. It's pervasive in nearly all lines of business - beauty supplies, clothing, handbags, electronics, and apparently auto parts would be no different.

Beyond the financial damage it does to the legitimate businesses that are being ripped off, in some cases it can be downright deadly. As mentioned above, beauty products are one such example. If it weren't for my wife (who's in this industry), I'd be oblivious to it, but there's a massive black market of beauty products that come from China, and they're often funneled through places like Alibaba. An eye shadow palette that may retail for $50 - $65 in the US gets knocked off by some Chinese plant, and suddenly you're seeing them popping up in discount drug stores, beauty supply outlets, etc. for half the price. Young girls are rushing to "get a deal" - often thinking it's the real thing (it's packaged to look authentic). The problem - they're often contaminated with various heavy metals and toxins that would otherwise be regulated-out of authentic products. You've got these girls now covering their skin with known carcinogens and the like.

In some cases perhaps it's just poor quality control, manufacturing practices, or know-how - not necessarily nefarious, but nonetheless still dangerous. Worse, in other cases, perhaps the people doing this know better - they just don't care. But in ALL circumstances, they're all still aware that there's IP theft and fraud going on. There's simply no recourse, and the government looks the other way.

Like many others, I couldn't support that in good conscience just to save a buck. It doesn't need to be deadly to a consumer, either - it's simply stealing from hard-working people, those who are toiling away at the companies whose IP is being ripped off. I can't support it.

Now, I'm sure there are plenty of legitimate manufacturers in China, as well. But, I don't have the knowledge, time, or will, as a consumer, to attempt to vet them - I simply couldn't trust that I know what I'm getting. As a business, sure, you can fly a staff over, do plant visits, monitor processes, audit them, etc. But that's well beyond the scope of a consumer's ability.

But in the spirit of keeping this relevant to the R8 forum - I'll put my thoughts in context to your brakes. The research I've done tells me that it's highly unlikely you'd be getting OEM R8 brakes from China. As I stated in your original thread, SHW (the OEM) has been around for a long, long time, and they're supplying the top German auto manufacturers - Porsche, BMW, Audi. They're claiming to manufacture their brakes in Germany, and as a public (regulated, audited) company, it would be quite the scandal if it were one big lie, with the "real thing" secretly coming out of China. I could only conclude that you're getting a knock-off from Alibaba. So, now I'd be seriously concerned about what you're putting on your car. I drive my R8 hard, and I need to trust that it's safe. I couldn't have that confidence if a major safety part (brakes) were of unknown origin and quality. Any savings here just simply isn't worth risking my safety.
I could have had my intake mesh produced over there much cheaper, but I knew if I did, there'd be 50 Chinese State Owned companies producing them for $25 each... So I chose to do business state side. I also think the "rock bottom prices" tend to increase significantly when you factor in the shipping costs to get them here. I have bought large quantities for an amazon business' I had and shipping is a major factor. People just see the "oh it's 50% less" and get excited until they actually begin the negotiation and realize that with shipping it may not even be cheaper at all. Then you have a lot more risk and none of the reward.
 
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