As scientists discovered long ago, many questions cannot be answered by theoretical pondering alone, even by brilliant thinkers, and we have to go to the real world to see what is actually going on.
In principle, a boutique shop could pass on much of the savings to the customer giving you a "$5000 speaker" for $2500. Or it could decide that you're used to paying $5000 for such sound and charge $4799. Who is doing what?
In principle, a big company could use overseas production to give you the best quality at 1/2 price. Or you could get 1/10th quality for 1/2 price. :) Again, who is doing what?
This is not for theoretical deduction. In the end, we need A'goners who know the best of each kind and can tell us where the best values are.
The answer may well depend on the price range: for example, it is quite possible that for the "best $1000 speaker" you need to go to a big company outsourcing from China, and for the "best $5000 speaker" to boutiques in small town USA (that's an example, not a statement).
In any event it is important to compare best with best. Much review ink is wasted on comparing good product of one kind with mediocre ones of the other.
Fatparrot:...the problem with Chinese gear is that you never know what you're getting.
That's why I won't buy direct from China at this stage. However, with a company like Quad or LSA in the middle, I expect them to take care of QC issues.
As a general life lesson, I have seen many Westerners make a mistake in Asian countries. If something costs $100 back home, we should be glad to get a comparable item for $50. Instead they get busy chasing $19 possibilities in proverbial dark allies. :) So, while made-in-China is cheaper, we don't have to chase absolutely the cheapest that may be out there.