Without questions or arguments, China is the ‘factory of the world’. With a population of well over a billion, and just under a billion and a half, the country is without question, the most populated country on earth – leading India (the runner-up) by well over a hundred million and the US (the second runner-up) by well over a billion!
To put the above into perspective, China has 4 times and over the population of the United States. This means that, for every person in the US, China has at least 4 more persons to make up! That’s a lot of people, population-wise.
Paired with the fact that the country is the second largest economy in the world (second only to the US), it is easy to appreciate why the country is chosen by many manufacturers as their defacto ‘factory’ (more on this later). It is also very easy to see that with an economy that is vibrant and a population that is impressive, products, especially consumer goods, will also be produced en-masse and targeted to other economies that are guaranteed to have a market for these products; in this case, the US.
When such products happen to be security cameras, it is easy to see why there’s likely to be a proliferation of Chinese-made options in US market, given that the US is one of the most security-conscious countries in the entire world.
But, here’s the problem: China isn’t exactly known for great privacy protections or even basic human rights for that matter. As a matter of fact, China runs one of the most repressive regimes in the entire world. With an active communist regime in the country, an aversion to democracy and allies such as North Korea, Russia, and Cuba, one begins to see the reason why some security-conscious Americans are critical of tech from China, especially security cameras that are produced in the East African country by Chinese (or overseas) companies.
Allow me to take a critical look at the unique challenges raised above and address them as appropriate. First things first, however: let’s get the affiliate disclaimer out of the way.
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Reasons Why Most Of The World (Read: The US) Produces In China
If China is communist and has no regard for human rights and personal privacy, why does the US still bother with production there? Or, why does it even bother with products that are made in the Asian market, to even start with? Can’t the US simply just boycott China?
This is the easiest thing to do. However, in practice, it isn’t the most practical and in truth, the rest of the world (the US inclusive) cannot simply dispense off with China like some bad article. Here’s why:
1. Low Taxes And Duties
No business is interested in opening shop just for the purposes of taxation, feeding government coffers, and struggling all through – no matter its patriotic underlinings. Generally, jurisdictions, where taxes and duties are on the high side, are bound to experience an exodus of production and manufacturing concerns, to jurisdictions and tax havens where these rates are generally low. If anyone perfectly understands this, it is US companies and corporations.
With sales tax that can be as high as 7% in some states, the US, you’ll agree, isn’t the best option for many companies and manufacturers when thinking about production.
On the other extreme, a country like China has completely abolished VAT (Value Added Tax) on some goods/product categories and done away with double taxation under whatever guise for the same goods category. This has made it possible to keep production costs low and has (further) attracted manufacturers across the world, starting from the US to jump ship and produce in the Asian country instead of doing so on American soil. Notable examples are HP, Apple, and Toshiba.
2. Lower Wages And Man Hours
It is not only taxes and duties that are lower and friendlier in the East Asian country when compared to the US and most of Europe and North America; wages and man hours are also considerably lower in China in comparison to the rest of the world.
For instance, a factory worker earns approximately $3.75 in China an hour. In the US, that same worker, tasked with the same duties, earns $16.67 approximately, for the same man-hour! This is roughly a difference of 440%!!
The implication of this is plain and easy to see, even for someone who isn’t versed in this sort of economics: lower production costs call for more profit at the end of the day for the businesses and companies concerned. The implication, further, is that, with lower costs, these companies (largely American concerns), can easily pocket more profits and while at it, even afford to make their products, produced in China a little cheaper than comparable products, manufactured on American soil.
This is also the exact competitive edge that products that are manufactured by core Chinese firms have over their comparative counterparts, manufactured in the US.
3. A Weaker Currency
There are advantages to a strong currency, chief amongst which is nationalistic pride and excitement whenever one travels and needs to change one’s country’s stronger currency to a weaker one. When this happens, the ensuing joy and pride are usually, second to none.
However, it ends there, at that level. In international business and transnational marketing, a weaker currency is actually desirable and much more practical. It ensures easier business deals and sees to it that products, especially from such a country with the devalued currency wind up cheaper in the market (overseas, majorly) than comparable options from businesses producing in countries that have a stronger currency.
It is much more pronounced in the developing world where products from China and Asia generally flood the market and options from Western Europe, North America and some of the Arab world are largely nonexistent and when available, prohibitively expensive.
For companies, especially US concerns interested in setting up factories in China and producing, it also ensures cheaper overall costs, which hugely influence the final price of such products when they become available in the market at the end. This is the other harsh part of a strong currency, especially on the international scene.
China has been accused by the US of deliberately undervaluing the Yuan for this purpose. However, it is difficult to establish this independently (since the Yuan isn’t publicly traded against the Dollar). Further, to complicate things, Beijing vehemently denies this.
With the above said, the picture must have started forming by now. But, to make it crystal clear, why is there a surge in interest (now) in security cameras made locally in the US by Americans?
You May Find This Interesting: Where Are Eufy IP Security Cameras Made?
What Is Fueling The Current Surge In Demand For IP Security Cameras Made In The US (By Americans)?
The surge in demand for American-made IP security cameras isn’t fueled by some crazy security paranoids, neither is naked patriotism fueling it. It also does not have anything to do with a hatred of either China or the awesome products that come from the Asian country.
For context and perspective, Asian brands are doing very well in America. As a matter of fact, in some areas/respects, these imports are preferable to local American brands. For instance, Toyota consistently outsells many of the local auto brands in the US and as a matter of fact, only Ford compares in some segments. Toyota is foreign, Asian, and Japanese.
So, why is a growing segment of the American (consuming) public not interested, generally, in IP security cameras from Asia especially options from China?
The answer is simple: trust and solid privacy laws (and enforcement) necessary to inspire complete trust for users who have such as top on their priority list are sadly low and in many instances, are perceived (with good reason too), to be completely absent. The case of Huawei, linked earlier comes to mind.
The logic here is simple and very straight to the point: while Asian imports generally are loved in the US, especially when they happen to be vehicles, the same love doesn’t extend to other gadgets and pieces of technology that are super critical and reliant on trust for full establishment.
No matter what major Chinese manufacturers say or do to allay these fears, it is, unfortunately, engrained in the consciousness of the average, security-conscious American. Unfortunately, no one but China itself is to be blamed for this behavior and gross erosion of trust.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels.
Why Are Chinese-Made Security Cameras (Still) Dominant In The US Market?
With the above said, it is easy to imagine that the Chinese would have a hard time breaking through the American market. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. As a matter of fact, a quick look at the American marketplaces and general market share show clearly that contrary to what anyone would expect, especially Americans, Asian companies are competing fiercely and in some cases, reclaiming the market share that American companies hitherto held.
Why is this so? Why are Chinese-made security cameras still prevalent in US markets when there is a clear preference for options made locally in the US, at least, by Americans?
Here are some of the reasons.
1. Competitive Pricing
As clearly seen before now, the Chinese Yuan is well weaker than the US dollar; China has lower taxes and rates (when compared to the US) and importantly, lower wages and manpower due to staff, from upper management to the assembly line and below.
All these count for something and usually, that ‘something’ translates to some dollars off the final retail price of some of the products that come out of the country, in this case, IP security cameras. Sometimes too, it isn’t just ‘a few’ bucks off…it is several hundred off!
Now, this has been the classical approach of Asians when they are desirous of breaking through a foreign market; especially the American market. The Japanese used it to great effect with the launch of the Lexus marque in the US in 1989.
With inflation and a dollar that is struggling to keep up with the realities of the time, the average American is ‘tempted’ to give the cheaper option from the Asians a try, and from this simple ‘try’, sales pick up and market dominance logically follows.
2. Aggressive Innovation
All the above, of course, wouldn’t make sense or even serve foreign companies’ business interests (read: Chinese companies) if their products are subpar when compared to the local options made here on American soil.
To compete, dominate the market and eventually get Americans to try their products (despite the initial fears), most Chinese companies radically innovate and the results show and are open for all to see.
An example that readily comes to mind is Eufy Security. Launched only in 2018, the security company is already a major contender in the IP security camera space and as a matter of fact, has achieved considerable market share in the niche already. There is no conversation today that will be complete without the express mention of the company unless the said conversation isn’t about this camera type.
Recently, for instance, the company demonstrated this aggressive innovation reality with the introduction of its state-of-the-art AI system, called ‘BionicMind’; a system that is so smart that over time, gets to distinguish familiar faces from strangers and can tell pets, vehicles, and humans apart in its screening processes.
That is not all. When the common offers from competitors have (almost all) capped in resolutions around 1080p, Eufy Security went ahead to offer options like the Eufy Cam 2 Pro, an IP security camera model that offers a solid and interesting 2k worth of resolution, capable of coming to life in an equally interesting manner, when put to use on the field.
Not resting on its oars, the company has now begun to offer the next generation of IP security cameras, offering a crystal clear and surprisingly effective system that caps in at an impressive 4k! It is safe to conclude that efforts to offer 8k options are already in the pipeline and it remains just a matter of time before 8k options from Eufy begin to hit the shelves.
By comparison, 4k is still very novel in the industry, and Eufy’s direct competitors aren’t even offering the same yet!
What is there not to love, even as a hardcore, initial, (American) skeptic?
3. Extensive Research
When Toyota (an Asian company) wanted to penetrate the US market with its Lexus Marque, it invested over 1 billion dollars into testing and research with the resulting vehicle, the LS 400 sharing no major components with previous Toyota vehicles!
This is one of the highest commitments to R&D made by any auto company since the 80s when this happened. The ultimate game then was to beat the Europeans (read: Mercedes, Audi, and BMW) at their game and the result, today, is open for all who are interested to see.
This story, if anything, proves one thing and proves it perfectly well: when the Asians enter the game, the target is usually to change it entirely and all thanks to the internal wisdom of Kaizen, they often succeed. In the case of Eufy (an Asian company too), the story wasn’t different. As a matter of fact, it was essentially the same story, laced with the same facts as Toyota faced in the 80s…just a different time and variation of a few characters here and there.
When Anker got to the American IP security camera scene, it created a special division to tackle the challenge and named this new creation ‘Eufy’ (much like Toyota created a marque to handle its luxury division and named it Lexus). It was this newly created division that figured out that the greatest challenges American IP security camera buyers were having were:
- The recurrent fees that were almost compulsory, across brands (some still hold unto this model today, at least for full functionality of the camera units) and
- The poor battery life of the camera units, making them more of a pain in the butt than a breath of fresh air.
To address these issues, the company simply focused on making cameras with local storage and badass battery life (with some models boosting a battery life that stretched well into a whole year per charge). The cloud storage many competitors held unto like their very lives depended on it was just now only a wilful option, in the Eufy world.
The result was an extraordinary warm market reception that I’m sure must have shocked even the company’s management to their bones 🙂
Not resting on their oars, the original base station design (called HomeBase), now in its third generation boosts expandable storage (up to 16TB by way of a hard drive) and a new camera line of 4k-inspired solar IP security cameras that never need to be charged traditionally again.
Does it ever get better than this in the consumer consumption world?
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels.
5 Good Examples Of IP Security Cameras Made Locally In The US
Despite the fact that foreign brands appear to have taken over the IP security space in the US and also appear, currently, to be holding the top market share, there are awesome options that are made by US companies and concerns and if you’re bothered about foreign brands, do not trust them or simply want to buy ‘American’, these are awesome options to consider.
Below, I share five (5) of the very best US companies, making and selling IP security cameras today. I also share some of their products so that you can take a look, if that is what you’d love to do.
Let’s delve in:
1. Ring & Blink (Amazon)
Ring and Blink are two ‘different’ companies producing IP security cameras for indoor and outdoor use. These companies are also in the business of video doorbells and are two of the pioneering companies that place emphasis on cloud storage for IP security cameras.
These companies also share more than these in common; they are also both owned by Amazon. The e-commerce giant perfected steps to acquire them and actually sealed the deal many years ago so technically, they share they share the same parent.
There is some sort of synergy between these companies but overall, they both have managed to keep their identities and run their respective product lines. Overall, these companies are bound and excited by the concept of the ‘smart home’ and are dedicated to making that happen via the integration with Alexa amongst other means.
The Ring website can be found here; for Blink, you’d have to check here.
Here’s an example of a Ring floodlight cam, found on Amazon; if you want something indoor specific, there’s the Ring indoor cam too. Blink isn’t left behind: here’s the Blink outdoor weather-resistant camera and if you’re looking for something exclusively for indoor use, here’s one: the Blink indoor HD camera. This unit is battery powered and the battery is rated for two solid years!
The name ‘Netgear’ should ring a bell if you’ve shopped for wireless home WiFi routers recently. There is no way you would have searched successfully without coming across the company, ‘Netgear’. Now, this same company, Netgear, is responsible for Arlo (just as Amazon is responsible for Ring and Blink above).
Headquartered in San Jose, California, the company, like the first two owned by Amazon and mentioned above, is heavily invested in the ‘smart home’ reality and most of its product line emphasizes this reality. This objective and grand aim are also very clear, immediately, from the Arlo website.
On Amazon, you can find the Arlo Pro 3 dedicated to outdoor use and if you’re looking for something to use indoors exclusively, the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera is a perfect fit.
Pelco is a US-based company with a focus on surveillance and security founded in 1957. The company operated its headquarters in California and focuses on the provision of security cameras, their management, and other closely allied services.
Due to the focus of the company, its products are geared towards commercial and industrial applications, making domestic options much harder to see under the product line. The reviews from users who have had the opportunity of coming across or using their products are glowing, however.
The company maintains a website where its products can be bought or more information sought and received. It also has some of its products commercially available on marketplaces such as Amazon. A good example of such a product is the Pelco P1220-ESR0 IP Camera.
4. Ubiquiti Inc
Founded in 2003, Ubiquiti Inc is an American security and technology company headquartered in New York. The company operates under various brands and serves the IP security world right across the secured access point world, door security, the secure radio communication world, and other closely allied interests.
The brands this company operates include UFiber (Wireless Internet Service Providers, WISP and Internet Service Providers, ISP; AirMax (a line of products dedicated to creating point-to-point, PTP, and point-to-multi-point, PtMP). Others include GigaBeam, UniFi, AmpliFi, EdgeMax, UISP, and AirFiber.
The company’s direct offers in terms of surveillance via cameras can be found here. However, if you’re disposed and want to take a quick look at what the company has to offer, you can check out some of their offers directly on Amazon. One of the best-known options there remains the Ubiquiti Networks UVC-G3-PRO Network Camera.
You should check it out if you’re very interested in buying American and for once, looking beyond the glamorous and attractive Asian options.
5. Speco Technologies
Started in 1956 and privately held to date, Speco is an American security company that much like the rest, deals with anything security, across the spectrum. Options from the company detail applications that relate to facial recognition, human detection, people counting, vehicle detection, and license plate recognition; all brilliantly achieved by means of AI.
The strength of this American company is in its customer service though: the company famously has a support system that connects you to a professional in less than a minute and lives by the mantra, as a company, of two (2) fundamental rules: the customer is always right and if there’s an issue, see rule #1.
Headquartered in NY, the company has an amazing website and is still very much in the business of providing security needs if that happens to be amongst your needs at the moment now and foreign imports aren’t simply going to cut it.
However, if you’ll prefer to take a look at some of their products on Amazon, they also have quite an impressive catalog there with the most impressive, IMO, being the Speco Technologies 2MP Ultra Intensifier IP Bullet Camera.
Now, it’s time to wrap up.
You May Find This Interesting: Do Eufy IP Security Cameras Require A Subscription?
The options shared above here are all fine American brands that produce the very best camera and security products. Usually, for many of these options, they also offer allied services and when the need arises or there is a demand, also offer support and even maintenance, in order to keep the security needs of clients top priority, in the true American spirit.
However, if you were paying attention to the article, a number of things become glaring as the article progresses and eventually comes to an end:
- Most of the options from American brands are expensive; at least, they are more expensive than comparable options from China.
- Most of the options from American brands aren’t made to be DIY-friendly (which is the major focus of Chinese brands). American brands on the other hand largely tilt towards professional installation and away from DIY – unless you truly know what you are doing.
- Most of the offers from American brands are industrial or commercially inclined. Very few options are meant to serve private homes and residences, on a small scale. The exact opposite is true for the focus of most of the Chinese options available today.
As can be clearly seen above, these are the challenges that face the average American should he/she desire to patronize American security products. However, this is not to say that these challenges are insurmountable. Quite to the contrary, they are, and direct requests for custom applications are handled every now and then by the companies, emanating from clients who want something a little more than what the stock reality is.
However, if American security companies truly want to up their game and compete with their Asian competitors for American dollars, they must promise and offer more than traditional security: they must be willing to also address the other concerns raised by this article before touting ‘security’ as the icing on the cake the traditional, security conscious American is meant not to resist!