One is four months old, I keep meaning to mention it but forget every time. The Black China Hand talks about black prisons, off-the-record lockups that help disappear undesirables.
Black prisons can always be closed once you discover them but shutting down or out the cabal that created them is much, much more difficult. That is where the focus needs to be.
This next bit hits closer to home for me. A photography blog talks about an up and coming Chinese brand name, Yong Nuo. They're makign flashes and other components, and their stuff is becoming more competent with each iteration.
Most Chinese flash manufacturers, who actually have the ability to create a pretty good product at an amazing price, do not understand this. They will frequently sell direct to the public at only a 2-3% profit margin on top of the actual manufacturing costs.
Obviously, no retailer can compete with this. Some will order the flashes and build in a small margin for themselves in hopes that people will buy from a more convenient source. But there is nowhere near the margin to stand behind the products, let alone test them thoroughly.
And since the whole system is built on as little margin as possible, quality control at the manufacturer is not what it could or should be, thus compounding the problem.
It's a huge problem for China. Much like smaller Korean manufacturers they have absolutely no idea how to get their shit into retail shops effectively, nor do they seem to have any interest in understanding, let alone implementing, customer services like return policies and reasonable overseas warranties.
Note that I say this as an outside observer, I could be entirely wrong. But personal experience lends weight to the idea. When I buy stuff from China it's typically a crapshoot, I never really know if it will be appropriate before I receive it, and I can't really go looking for other peoples' reports on it, 'cause they don't use part numbers, or if they do they're basically random. I orrdered two photo umbrellas and they arrived, almost identical, in different packaging and with different part numbers on them. From the same shop. On the same order.
They're so cheap that if it doesn't work I give them away or throw them out, but it's not a long-term success plan, is it? Get consistent, get some resellers, get some fucking trustworthiness. Don't make me come over there, China!