Retro Rip-off ?

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podknocker

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Feb 5, 2021
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The most ridiculous one is the Naim Nait 50. This was about £300 early 90s, and now they’re asking £2700! I appreciate material have gone up, but it’s not like they’ve had to design anything from scratch or anything - the extremely simple design already exists! At least MF’s A1, which was a similar price to the Nait, is far more sensible at £1500 and about what I’d expect it to be. I can only think that some manufacturers know there’s a very small market for some of these products, so bump up the price to counteract low sales.
Even with inflation, I can't believe glue and MDF and building costs are so high that a modern 2 way floorstander like the Spendor A4 for example, should cost £2850

Companies have been building speakers for decades and it's not as if they are new to the game and don't have a streamlined, efficient production process after all this time.

I know there will always be customers willing to pay this.

There is a premium with the UK made speakers and the Japanese and Americans seem to have bottomless pockets when looking for this sort of speaker.
 
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Gray

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Sorry if I sound cynical, but that's a load of salesman BS. I should know as I was in sales for over 30 years.

Most of these more recent retro-looking speakers are produced by one organisation: IAG.
Nobody is more cynical than me don't worry.
(Being told I could never be a salesman, was one of the greatest compliments I've had 👍)

But it makes sense to me that, if some people are cutting back (theres no if about that) then making and selling overpriced products - to those with the means (and inclination) to buy is a good idea.

The poster I read quoting the salesman did point out that during his visit, that salesman attempted to massively upsell to him - and he said he ran a mile, rather than buy anything.
 
The poster I read quoting the salesman did point out that during his visit, that salesman attempted to massively upsell to him - and he said he ran a mile, rather than buy anything.
Can't say I blame him. Whenever I go into a dealer I always categorically state the absolute max budget, but the regular dealers who know me have learned to know my limits, otherwise I'm on my bike.

It was like when I purchased Atlas Equator cables a few years ago, he tried to upsell me TQ black by offering a free demo. I bluntly refused - they were way over budget.
 
Can't say I blame him. Whenever I go into a dealer I always categorically state the absolute max budget, but the regular dealers who know me have learned to know my limits, otherwise I'm on my bike.

It was like when I purchased Atlas Equator cables a few years ago, he tried to upsell me TQ black by offering a free demo. I bluntly refused - they were way over budget.
Unfortunately, it's what salesmen worth their salt do. You simply have to stick to your guns....and budget.
Punter comes into a shop wanting a £4000 system.... Salesman instantly thinks let's make that six....
However, apologies for sidelining this thread.....
 
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nopiano

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Even with inflation, I can't believe glue and MDF and building costs are so high that a modern 2 way floorstander like the Spendor A4 for example, should cost £2850

Companies have been building speakers for decades and it's not as if they are new to the game and don't have a streamlined, efficient production process after all this time.

I know there will always be customers willing to pay this.

There is a premium with the UK made speakers and the Japanese and Americans seem to have bottomless pockets when looking for this sort of speaker.
But if Spendor sell it at £1600 to the trade and give the dealer a 50% markup on that, then you add 20% VAT you’re pretty much at the list price.

You‘re not buying a bag of components with a finished speaker. You’re buying all the R&D, cabinet, assembly labour, drive units, crossover, cable, terminal block, testing. And advertising and marketing. Then it’s packed in custom cut boxes, sealed, wharehoused, and eventually shipped.

Of course you can get a vinyl wrapped box made in China for £500 that looks about the same size, but it’s not really comparable.
 
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Unfortunately, it's what salesmen worth their salt do. You simply have to stick to your guns....and budget.
Punter comes into a shop wanting a £4000 system.... Salesman instantly thinks let's make that six....
However, apologies for sidelining this thread.....
Totally understand why they do it, but unlike other trades, hi-fi should be set in stone if the prospective buyer knows his budget... or is taken in by the delusional thought of what he could have. Quite often they leave with something very different to their original requirements.

But you can't sell to a salesman.
 

AJM1981

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Mar 26, 2021
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Call me an old sceptic, but do I detect a recent trend for manufacturers to label new products with a retro tag, then add a zero to the price tag ? !!!
I'm sure these items ( be they speakers, amps or whatever ) will show some improvement in performance over the original model, but can they ever justify these sky-high prices for what are mid-range products at best ?
At this rate, the only people able to afford this stuff will be old wrinklies like me, and we'll not need it because our deteriorating hearing doesn't justify it !!!
Rant over.
GP

Inflation. And these are modern ground up designed loudspeakers that have almost no relationship with their vintage counterparts, other than sharing some optical design elements or name. The price tags are matching the catalogue of the brand developing them.

While vintage is dated, these retrospective ones are pretty timeless
 
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Even with inflation, I can't believe glue and MDF and building costs are so high that a modern 2 way floorstander like the Spendor A4 for example, should cost £2850

Companies have been building speakers for decades and it's not as if they are new to the game and don't have a streamlined, efficient production process after all this time.

I know there will always be customers willing to pay this.

There is a premium with the UK made speakers and the Japanese and Americans seem to have bottomless pockets when looking for this sort of speaker.
The Chinese will put together a speaker far more cheaply than anyone in the U.K. will, and if you can stay on top of them 24/7, they’ll do a good job. Look away for a few seconds and they’ll be cutting corners. Not so bad when you own the factories in question (as IAG, KEF etc do) or you’re lucky enough to find one that will do what you want them to consistently.

Many British made speakers aren’t always fully made in-house. Many big and small names get their cabinets made by Timberworx, owned by Spendor, as they’re just not set up for producing cabinets. This of course will be an extra cost, but removes the need to get tooled up to do it themselves. Although, I recently heard that Timberworx will now only make cabinets for Spendor, after a recent management shake up - this might cause some headaches for some speaker manufacturers, and maybe some waiting times…

There’s more competition in the speaker market than ever before, and there’s never been less buyers. On top of this, there’s a whole plethora of used speakers from the last 50 years available to throw into the mix, so speakers nowadays sell far less than they used, even when compared to 10 years ago. Prices have to reflect that, otherwise the company won’t last long.

I’ve said before, there are some British speaker manufacturers who price themselves into the sector of the market they want to be seen in. Their speakers aren’t worth the asking price - you only have to compare to some of the competition to notice that - but people will still buy them because they get good reviews, the online bloggers rave about them, and they carry prestigious British names. The only clue I’ll give you is that I don’t do them :)
 
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Sorry if I sound cynical, but that's a load of salesman BS. I should know as I was in sales for over 30 years.

Most of these more recent retro-looking speakers are produced by one organisation: IAG.
Unfortunately, I think it’s true. When times are tough, those with little money have to tighten their belts, and it’s usually luxury items that get ignored or sold off first. In these trying times, those whose monthly incomes are a number of times higher than many of us are nowhere near as badly affected - they’re still doing four holiday a year and buying a couple of new cars with the new reg plates like we buy records. Their decisions on buying things are pretty much unaffected by what’s going on around the world. More and more dealers are having to move upmarket in order to attract sales - there’s way too many dealers out there for the demand, and much of the budget demand is eaten by by RS and a small number of established companies with huge online presence. Budget stuff is available everywhere, and it’s delivered to your door without even consulting a dealer, hence the amount of “open box” available on mail order sites. Mid to high end products are a little more restricted, both by the number of outlets and also their online availability. A dealer with a brand falling into this category at least has a chance of grabbing some of the pie, although I see Facebook groups that recommend a very small window of “favourite” brands doing their bit to shape the market, but that’s a story for another time.
 
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roaduck

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Jun 26, 2023
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I`ve had some naughty speakers over the years including ATC SCM-300 passives, Acoustic Energy AE-4 studios, Rogers Studio 1a, Harbeth M40-1, Spendor BC1, Yamaha NSX-10000, vintage Ravels, Egglestone Soundworks, SD Acoustics OBS, Heybrook HB3, Proac Tablette Signature, Wilson Audio Tiny Tots.Pintpots from AE, Mordaunt Short , Onkyo top of the range etc.
The Rogers studio 1a `s could do 110 db all night without being shouty at all, quite composed actually; under a hundred they were magical.

Favourite big - Harbeth M40-1 Heybrook HB3 - for totally disappearing sonically
Favourite pintpots - Acoustic Energy AE-1, Dynaudio Contour 20 for dynamics attack and imagery, detail etc.
A Accuphase 6000, Gryphon diablo and Krell KSA-200 amps made them sing.
I had VTL monoblock valve preamps - with two mains plugs - nice and warm in the winter like my A21a.

I had an 8 x 15" 16 KW array in my living room in Whalley Range - Manchester.
Inside carnival reggae stacks - not accurate or refined but fun and dancy.
That was about 115-118 db six foot away outside so not a blushing violet.

The closest I`ve got to that bass is my 20 stone, six foot Danley horn subwoofers that do 128 db clean 12 Hz bass all day - go up to 135 db at 20 hz.
Each 3 decibels increase is twice as powerful - in theory.
I got the LLT (large low tuned) bug in Kokomo, Indiana US.
The Danley does 100 decibels with one watt so what does a 12 KW Crown studio pro bridged power do - no idea but enough - it`s like a disco but much lower bass and much less distorted but well over twenty five times louder than a 105 db disco.I`m already a bit deaf so I`m good to go.

They make the 15 inch SVS 2 KW subs sound like a pocket transistor radio in comparison.They do 85 db outside from 800 foot away so the living room is toytown.

My neighbours do love me - honest ; they`re invited to a mine regularly - I`m a party animal.

Talking about neighbours Tony wanted some old funk cassettes on tonight so I temporarily plumbed the old Sony cassette in - no room till I reconfigure downstairs.

Acquitted itself remarkedly well for a top loader born in 1971 - no dolby C no LED peak meters - no nish - doesn`t really need for bells and whistles - sounds quite 3D with a good That`s chrome.Bit tatty but sounds well - only 80 quid delivered - new belts too.SONY TC161 - CASSETTE DECK.jpg
 
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roaduck

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Jun 26, 2023
208
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Not really the same. Restomods are essentially handbuilt, in very small volume cars.

Motorsport Tools in Wales, specializes in MK1 and MK2 Escorts (though they're not allowed to call them that) and will build you one using brand new heritage shells, ranging from fast road/tourer upto fully prepared Group 4 Rally spec.

They start at about 80K which I don't think is unreasonable given the amount of development, engineering and labour that goes into them.

They've just started doing Metro 6R4s too.

I'll be having one of each if my lottery numbers come up 🤞
I had a Moggy minor with a small 4 litre block, supercharger and NOS in the early nineties.
It was a sleeper apart from the massive tyres and exhaust sound - it was hand-painted with grey primer.
Porsche driving yuppies used to laugh until I tickled it a bit.
It could do wheelspins at 80mph and 0-150 in just over eleven seconds.
Not bad for a 1950`s old banger.
It was too mad in the wet - especially the Snake Pass and the highlands.
So got rid for a song and bought a nice sensible TVR stage 2 tuned Cerbera - that had a mad back end as well - like a big beemer with bald tyres on ice - haha!
I finally swapped it for an old 1960`s Bedford coach and went round Europe with 3 buddies for a summer.
That charabanc needed half a village to push it up steep hills - it was about as powerful as an electric toothbrush - two figures horse - but real fun - it even had an Aga wood range in it and a chimney - puffing billy haha !
 

Geoff P.

Well-known member
Mar 29, 2022
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I`ve had some naughty speakers over the years including ATC SCM-300 passives, Acoustic Energy AE-4 studios, Rogers Studio 1a, Harbeth M40-1, Spendor BC1, Yamaha NSX-10000, vintage Ravels, Egglestone Soundworks, SD Acoustics OBS, Heybrook HB3, Proac Tablette Signature, Wilson Audio Tiny Tots.Pintpots from AE, Mordaunt Short , Onkyo top of the range etc.
The Rogers studio 1a `s could do 110 db all night without being shouty at all, quite composed actually; under a hundred they were magical.

Favourite big - Harbeth M40-1 Heybrook HB3 - for totally disappearing sonically
Favourite pintpots - Acoustic Energy AE-1, Dynaudio Contour 20 for dynamics attack and imagery, detail etc.
A Accuphase 6000, Gryphon diablo and Krell KSA-200 amps made them sing.
I had VTL monoblock valve preamps - with two mains plugs - nice and warm in the winter like my A21a.

I had an 8 x 15" 16 KW array in my living room in Whalley Range - Manchester.
Inside carnival reggae stacks - not accurate or refined but fun and dancy.
That was about 115-118 db six foot away outside so not a blushing violet.

The closest I`ve got to that bass is my 20 stone, six foot Danley horn subwoofers that do 128 db clean 12 Hz bass all day - go up to 135 db at 20 hz.
Each 3 decibels increase is twice as powerful - in theory.
I got the LLT (large low tuned) bug in Kokomo, Indiana US.
The Danley does 100 decibels with one watt so what does a 12 KW Crown studio pro bridged power do - no idea but enough - it`s like a disco but much lower bass and much less distorted but well over twenty five times louder than a 105 db disco.I`m already a bit deaf so I`m good to go.

They make the 15 inch SVS 2 KW subs sound like a pocket transistor radio in comparison.They do 85 db outside from 800 foot away so the living room is toytown.

My neighbours do love me - honest ; they`re invited to a mine regularly - I`m a party animal.

Talking about neighbours Tony wanted some old funk cassettes on tonight so I temporarily plumbed the old Sony cassette in - no room till I reconfigure downstairs.

Acquitted itself remarkedly well for a top loader born in 1971 - no dolby C no LED peak meters - no nish - doesn`t really need for bells and whistles - sounds quite 3D with a good That`s chrome.Bit tatty but sounds well - only 80 quid delivered - new belts too.View attachment 5305
( From OP )
Sorry Roaduck, but what has all this showing-off to do with my original subject ? !
GP
 
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Oxfordian

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Mar 20, 2021
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That's for sure.

I was reading a post on another forum where someone asked a dealer how he was doing.
According to him, thanks to the cost of living crisis causing people to cut back, sales of budget products have really suffered.

Whereas sales of high priced items (apparently) are selling at least as well as ever.
For many there is not (and never will be) any financial crisis - if they fancy a pair of those Epos speakers, they'll have them.

That probably explains the recent glut of these new 'classic' products.
This is so true, those with money will always have money and the ability to buy what they want, often as mentioned goods someway above budget line products.
 
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Jasonovich

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Jul 28, 2022
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Call me an old sceptic, but do I detect a recent trend for manufacturers to label new products with a retro tag, then add a zero to the price tag ? !!!
I'm sure these items ( be they speakers, amps or whatever ) will show some improvement in performance over the original model, but can they ever justify these sky-high prices for what are mid-range products at best ?
At this rate, the only people able to afford this stuff will be old wrinklies like me, and we'll not need it because our deteriorating hearing doesn't justify it !!!
Rant over.
GP
Really good question. These days 'Retro' is marketable and they're really milking the vinyl revival, not just familiar sounding turntables (literally and figuratively speaking) but the cost of LP's borders on the madness.

These are my own views and most of you will probably disagree. There was a time, I loved my vinyl's and took great care and pride in my turntable, but over a course of time, I realise the sonic superiority over digital was just another marketing ploy. I think, time to let the old dog die and let's move forward into the future.
 

DCarmi

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Nov 15, 2019
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When it comes to retro stuff, I guess you have to look at the target market. It is probably people like me.

We grew up with our little, mostly second hand hifis and had friends with LP12s, Quad/Naim Monoblocks, big speakers and audio quality we could only drool over. Then came mortgage, kids, time limitations etc, so we stuck at the lower end of the market, replacing the odd component when funds and Other Half permit.

Now the kids have left home, the mortgage is paid, the hair has thinned and going grey and retirement is but a few years off, we start to look back on the LP12s and Quads, and think that this sort of thing could now be mine and my vinyl collection deserves it.

Unfortunately for me, some of the little s*ds and partners appear to have come back to roost "only for a short while, honest" or need loans from the Bank of Mum and Dad. Also the house now needs fixing, so I expect to be working until I am about 97!

My folks bought my shopping 2 or 3 times and that was about it! No car loan, no deposit contribution, nothing. Where did I go wrong? ;)

Having moaned, I am not really complaining. I do have my old Planar 3 , Mission M71i speakers (which I quite like) and a PM6006 and they'll do for now. I'll look to "amp up" at some point. I find the PM6006 lacks something at lower volume.
 

Jasonovich

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Jul 28, 2022
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When it comes to retro stuff, I guess you have to look at the target market. It is probably people like me.

We grew up with our little, mostly second hand hifis and had friends with LP12s, Quad/Naim Monoblocks, big speakers and audio quality we could only drool over. Then came mortgage, kids, time limitations etc, so we stuck at the lower end of the market, replacing the odd component when funds and Other Half permit.

Now the kids have left home, the mortgage is paid, the hair has thinned and going grey and retirement is but a few years off, we start to look back on the LP12s and Quads, and think that this sort of thing could now be mine and my vinyl collection deserves it.

Unfortunately for me, some of the little s*ds and partners appear to have come back to roost "only for a short while, honest" or need loans from the Bank of Mum and Dad. Also the house now needs fixing, so I expect to be working until I am about 97!

My folks bought my shopping 2 or 3 times and that was about it! No car loan, no deposit contribution, nothing. Where did I go wrong? ;)

Having moaned, I am not really complaining. I do have my old Planar 3 , Mission M71i speakers (which I quite like) and a PM6006 and they'll do for now. I'll look to "amp up" at some point. I find the PM6006 lacks something at lower volume.
I can totally relate to that, I applaud you for holding it together. Small things, like having your own space to relax and listen to your music collection are the small joys of life. :)
 
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Jasonovich

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The Chinese will put together a speaker far more cheaply than anyone in the U.K. will, and if you can stay on top of them 24/7, they’ll do a good job. Look away for a few seconds and they’ll be cutting corners. Not so bad when you own the factories in question (as IAG, KEF etc do) or you’re lucky enough to find one that will do what you want them to consistently.

Many British made speakers aren’t always fully made in-house. Many big and small names get their cabinets made by Timberworx, owned by Spendor, as they’re just not set up for producing cabinets. This of course will be an extra cost, but removes the need to get tooled up to do it themselves. Although, I recently heard that Timberworx will now only make cabinets for Spendor, after a recent management shake up - this might cause some headaches for some speaker manufacturers, and maybe some waiting times…

There’s more competition in the speaker market than ever before, and there’s never been less buyers. On top of this, there’s a whole plethora of used speakers from the last 50 years available to throw into the mix, so speakers nowadays sell far less than they used, even when compared to 10 years ago. Prices have to reflect that, otherwise the company won’t last long.

I’ve said before, there are some British speaker manufacturers who price themselves into the sector of the market they want to be seen in. Their speakers aren’t worth the asking price - you only have to compare to some of the competition to notice that - but people will still buy them because they get good reviews, the online bloggers rave about them, and they carry prestigious British names. The only clue I’ll give you is that I don’t do them :)
The Chinese are also known for cloning British/American classic speaker designs and selling them at such lower prices. Not just speakers but also amps, preamps etc.
Two years ago, I purchased Lehmann's Headphone amp, it was damn good I have to say. The person I sold it to on eBay was a qualified technician and he examined the circuitry and validated as authentic Lehmann, even though it was cloned.
What everybody else can do, the Chinese can do it much cheaper.

This is just one aspect of the Chinese electronic industry, the other alarming trend, is they're making really good products, such as Topping, SMSL, Shanglin, Hiby, Cayin, FiiO, ifi, Eversolo, Hifiman, mobile phones etc. there are so many.
 
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Gray

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This is just one aspect of the Chinese electronic industry, the other alarming trend, is they're making really good products, such as Topping, SMSL, Shanglin, Hiby, Cayin, FiiO, ifi, Eversolo, Hifiman, mobile phones etc. there are so many.
And their lower priced electric car brands (with strange and currently unknown names) are seriously worrying the established manufacturers in Europe.

An industry expert made the point that it's because they've been preparing for the last 20 years.....just as with hi-fi, people won't worry about silly names when they can pay thousands less.
 

podknocker

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Feb 5, 2021
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The Chinese are also known for cloning British/American classic speaker designs and selling them at such lower prices. Not just speakers but also amps, preamps etc.
Two years ago, I purchased Lehmann's Headphone amp, it was damn good I have to say. The person I sold it to on eBay was a qualified technician and he examined the circuitry and validated as authentic Lehmann, even though it was cloned.
What everybody else can do, the Chinese can do it much cheaper.

This is just one aspect of the Chinese electronic industry, the other alarming trend, is they're making really good products, such as Topping, SMSL, Shanglin, Hiby, Cayin, FiiO, ifi, Eversolo, Hifiman, mobile phones etc. there are so many.
Some of this is borderline, if not actual counterfeiting and should be stopped. It destroys legit companies.

Burberry struggled years ago, when sales were diverted to 'cloned' merchandise.

Even if the quality of the product is there and it's cheaper, the Chinese export economy grows, while the original companies suffer losses.

The Chinese economy depends on exports as most of the internal market is saturated, as there are not enough people to buy this stuff.

Most of the billion people in China are fairly poor and work on the land. These people don't buy TVs and fancy HIFI and it's a small percentage of the population that does.

If we slowed, or even stopped our dependence on cheap imports from China, we wouldn't be held to ransom, like we are now.

Getting UK companies to tool up and reduce costs would be difficult, but we need this in the long term.

The UK and other countries need to get more tech companies up and running, everything from mobile phones to HIFI etc.

People would have to pay more in the short term, but we need to rely on home based production and not feed this Chinese economy forever.

Perfect example is the Mission 770 at £3299 and made in the UK. If this was made in China, it would be a quarter of this price. We must try to compete with this huge country at some point.

Our dependence on China for everything will lead to our companies disappearing forever and then China can ask any price it wants.

We need another strategy and we need to get UK companies making this stuff and then, eventually, it's Chinese import prices.

We've always been pioneering and at the forefront of technology, but there are no UK made mobile phones. I might be wrong, but doubt it.

We do have UK HIFI brands, such as Mission and Audiolab, but they are now owned by China!

China sees the world as a Monopoly board and eventually, if not stopped, everything will be owned by China and we won't have a say in anything.
 
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DCarmi

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Some of this is borderline, if not actual counterfeiting and should be stopped. It destroys legit companies.
Yes, but how? We are increasingly dependent on Chinese goods, both genuine and otherwise and sometimes not actually legal to use in the UK.

Also the Chinese market is huge and increasing in wealth. Even UK owned companies making their own stuff will get many of their components from China.

As China has applied to join the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade group that we recently joined, that would open up more opportunities for Chinese imports into the UK. (Several of the CPTPP members, including Australia, are already members of a similar Chinese backed trade group, so there is a route for imports that way, as well.)
 

podknocker

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Not saying this is easy, but we need to find a way of not having everything made in China.

They are getting so powerful now and way ahead of the UK with cyber security and quantum computing.

At some point, we will be unable to compete and we will be subsumed into their economy and that's it.
 
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DCarmi

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At some point, we will be unable to compete and we will be subsumed into their economy and that's it.
Bit late, really.

They already own or have a stake in many UK companies and large investments in infrastructure, including:
  • 36% of Hinkley Point C (the rest being owned by the French Government).
  • 10% of Heathrow and Thames Water
  • 49% of HSBC
  • 80% of Northumbrian Water and stakes in other water companies.
  • They have a controlling interest in a chunk of our gas and electricity distribution and rail rolling stock.
  • If you are in London, the South East or East of England, then power generated for you is 40% owned by a Chinese company.

They also own holdings in all of the top 100 UK listed companies.
 

Jasonovich

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And their lower priced electric car brands (with strange and currently unknown names) are seriously worrying the established manufacturers in Europe.

An industry expert made the point that it's because they've been preparing for the last 20 years.....just as with hi-fi, people won't worry about silly names when they can pay thousands less.
Yeah it's true, if it costs less, is reliable, no one will care about the brand.
 
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