Mega-OEMs vs Micro-Relabelers

Author: John Honovich, Published on Aug 04, 2015

Manufacturers like Dahua are sold under dozens, if not hundreds, of aliases in the United States alone. Companies doing it range from two stoners in their basement to Fortune 100 corporations (e.g., Honeywell).

But are there any differences between them? And are there any risks? This debate arose recently when we exposed a 'manufacturer' who is really an integrator relabeling Chinese cameras.

We believe that there are significant differences and more end user risks in going with micro-relabelers. Inside this post, we explain why and how.

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Comments (21)

I've noticed that small relabelers often do it to belie the fact they are so small.

I may walk in your door looking like two slobby installers, but once I dig around in my bag and show you the glossy catalog full of cameras wearing my logo, your perspective toward me might change!

Even better, someone else's logo but secretly yours.

"Yeah, MightyCam is some pretty incredible stuff. We stay on the cutting edge of the market and are excited to partner with them."

"If you can find better prices on MightyCam anywhere, we'll give you $500 cash and two wrestling tickets!"

Yeah, I've known the President of MightyCam since grade school, we were inseparable...

All this said, the best choice for most end users is buying directly from the 'real' manufacturer...

With Dahua I would think that buying from FLIR is possibly the best move in the states at least. As you have already alluded to, they provide warranty and tech documentation, in English, at nearly the same price.

In addition, although no one would doubt their Dahuan pedigree, they can differ from the pure bred line with some value-add of their own, as Luke pointed out here.

That's why I said 'most', there are exceptions where the real manufacturer has screwed up channel / sales and marketing. However, those are declining as more and more manufacturers grow their own direct branded business.

Btw, here is a post from 2009 about Hikvision's 'Dream of Branded Business', that underscores how different things are industry wise and for Hikvision in just 6 years.

In rare cases an OEM need not even relabel...;)

See Samsung Electronics Selling Hanwha Cameras Made By Techwin As Samsung....

I don't understand the reasoning here.

It's ok to rebrand if you are a gigantic company, but if you are a small intergrator building a business - as are most of us here - you are doing something dishonest by rebranding? It's simply untrue and furthermore, illogical.

Your claims would have validity if you were referring to someone rebranding a local company - but a foreign company? I have serious doubts regarding the idea that Dahua would provide better support than HiDef Tech - the company you mentioned in your posts. To that end, have you ever tried contacting Dahua directly? After several days, they will respond by requesting that you contact your local supplier. The dissolution of customer service as companies grow in size is typical and even expected by consumers.

I have sold Dahua products for many years; and they have never had a Dahua label. Why? Because Dahua will not allow you to sell products in the US with their logo. You must re-lable with your own brand or remove their label all together.

That said, if I put my company name on Dahua products, install them with my company's technicians and back them with my company warranty, where is the problem?

Oh I get it. Since I'm not Flir or IC Realtime, I dont have the right. Yeah right. Preposterous indeed. This is the first time I have really been dissapointed by the opinions shared by some of the members on this board. I mean cancel my membership dissapointed. :(

"I have serious doubts regarding the idea that Dahua would provide better support than HiDef Tech - the company you mentioned in your posts."

HiDef Tech is tricking its customers into thinking that they are a real manufacturer. Worse, HiDef Tech's integrator arm is tricking its customers into thinking that VAS Security is a separate unrelated organization.

It is deceptive.

so with one subject you got your feelings hurt on you're ready to cut off your nose to spite your face???? Have you really thought this out? If you thought you were going to agree with everything, everytime you've been living in a dream world and worse, probably not growing personally or professionally. I think IPVM is the one place I can get feedback on things that I may or may not agree with but in everycase I get educated and sometimes I even change my opinion based on input from other members. If you're still thinking about leaving over this I say good riddance, this community doesn't need attitude and what you just said is childish attitude - I'm taking my toys and going home because the kids in the sandbox won't play by my rules? See ya!

I still dont get it. I just visited www.icrealtime.com. On the front page it reads "a Global Leader in Quality & Design of Advanced Visual Sureveillance Solutions." Following that, you see the following words scroll: "We Manufacture, We See, We Hear, We Believe." I would wager that Icrealtime is 95% dahua products. Are they being deceptive?

Regarding the seperate unrelated organizations aspect, I can't speak to how this guy's companies are structured. Yet, it is possible for companies to be completely seperate but have the same owners. In fact, sometimes it's simply smart and strategic. Ebay and Paypal recently separated because it made more business sense for them to function seperately. Go to www.ebay.com for yourself. It's at the top of the website. In no way am I comparing this guy to PayPal or Ebay, but at what point are we allowed to become smart business men? Additionally, is it wrong to do it because we're small and just beginning?

"Additionally, is it wrong to do it because we're small and just beginning?"

It's generally far less valuable to a consumer to buy from a 'manufacturer' with 2 to 5 employees than one with 200 or 500. Bigger 'manufacturers' can offer a lot more.

I am no fan of IC Realtime (we criticize them often, most recently here) but they are selling $20+ million of products a year, have hundreds of dealers, support organization, a detailed website with significant documentation, etc.

Why not just be the best at integration? Why misrepresent the source of products sold?

"Why not just be the best at integration?"

Aren't we free to grow our business in any manner we'd like - be that providing services or offering products for resale? Aren't we allowed to look for creative ways to grow our revenues, especially when trade publications constantly scream, "Custom intergrators are a dying breed?"

"Why misrepresent the source of products sold?"

Calling it a misrepresenation is to say you believe consumers misunderstand how business works in this country. Millions of products are made in China, but by the time they reach the U.S., they bear the name of a another company. None of these companies say, "BTW we just sell this stuff. We don't actually have a factory. This stuff is really made by ABC company in China that sells to companies like us. We thought it was important you know that." Isn't that precisely the purpose of the "Made in China" sticker? Americans understand the supply chain well.

Your arguement presumes most products are misrepresented. Yet in reality, most companies can't afford their own manufactuing. They outsource it, and that's a hard fact.

Your arguments further suggest that this kind of outsourcing and re-labeling is not justified for companies with fewer than a couple hundred employees. The point you ignore, however, is that HiDef does not need 200 employees because the customer base does not support that. If they had that many employees, the payroll would put the company out of business no matter what was sold. The owner only has to have enough employees to handle his customer volume. I am a small operation. We have 4 employees, with one person managing the phone. We are able to offer exceptional customer service because the number of our employees is porportiante to our customer base. Big does not mean better. If I buy from HiDef, I can probably speak directly with the owner if I have a problem. I may even be able to get the owner to come to my home for troubleshooting. That, my friend, is priceless - an outstanding customer service experience with which the huge survelliance companies cannot compete. Quality over quanity.

Please know, I believe in business integrity and wouldn't support any company that defrauds consumers or the public.

To that end, hats off to the owner of HiDef for his entrepreneurial spirit which is defined as "a mindset that embraces critical questioning, innovation, service and continuous improvement. ... Entrepreneurial spirit helps companies grow and evolve rather than become stagnant and stale.” - Forbes Magazine

"Aren't we free to grow our business in any manner we'd like - be that providing services or offering products for resale?"

You are free to deceive your customers. We are free to object to it.

"Yet in reality, most companies can't afford their own manufactuing. They outsource it, and that's a hard fact."

You're mixing contract manufacturing with relabelling. If Axis designs hardware and software, yet has it contract manufactured in Asia, Axis is still a real manufacturer.

Taking a completely finished product that you had nothing to do with the design or development of and adding your label is not manufacturing.

"this kind of outsourcing and re-labeling is not justified for companies with fewer than a couple hundred employees."

I am saying that large companies can provide more valuable services than a guy in a warehouse.

"If I buy from HiDef, I can probably speak directly with the owner if I have a problem. I may even be able to get the owner to come to my home for troubleshooting."

Which he could equally do if he sold Dahua or Hikvision direct. It's not necessary to re-label to provide owner support.

But you miss out on the downsides. What if the owner is on vacation and the customer needs help? What if the owner decides to do something else or goes out of business? What happens to the customer? What if the customer is not happy with the owner and wants another integrator?

Last point,

I'm not confident that HiDef is even a Dahua re-labeler. If you look at their website and compare it to nellysecurity.com 's website you will see they share the same color scheme and product line. This guy is probaly a Nelly dealer taking advantage of the private lable program that Nellys offers. So I guess this is a re-laber of a re-laber.

And for the record, Nellys offers some of the best customer support in the industry.

So I guess this is a re-labeller of a re-labeller...

Assume you are right.

Now say HiDef were to go belly-up, leaving the end-user no choice but to peel the first sticker off (metaphorically), revealing the more respected EyeSurv brand.

Do you think Nelly would honor at least the warranty that was extended to HiTech?

If he continued peeling, I think we know what Dahua's response would be...

I guess you would have to ask Nellys if they would honor that warranty. Also, ask them why they offer a private label program, especially when it seems to be frowned upon by some board members here.

I believe there is a big ommision in this article and in some of the comments as it relates to Mega-OEM's. I cannot speak for all of course but people based on reading this article may think that Mega-OEM's are simply relabeling product. In many cases this may be far from the truth. Sure the term 'OEM' implies this but this may not always be what's going on. Just because a product is built in a particular factory does not neccissarely mean you are just putting your branding on it. The power of Mega-OEM's is among other things volume which comes with the opportunity to steer R&D decisions or request special versions of a product (e.g. higher performance sensors for example) or add special features. So while it may look like a rebrand, if you compare the products side by side you may notice significant differences in performance/tuning. A micro-relabeler has no such influence on large factories. One area where we have seen particualr issues with stock standard product is where the product is designed/tuned for China domestic market ('good enough for China market') where it is seems to be more important to have a good relationship with the customer than having the best performance/tuning. This is more common then you think considering how big the China market is. Is that the product you want to offer your customer? Go ahead.

"So while it may look like a rebrand, if you compare the products side by side you may notice significant differences in performance/tuning."

You might be aware that we do compare products side by side. We have not noticed 'significant differences in performance/tuning' for mega-OEMs. Typically, it is the same basic thing, with changes in branding / logos on UIs.

Indeed, some mega-OEM's performance are at least slight worse. Compare our ADI vs Hikvision test results.

That said, it is possible that some are better, we just have not found enough significant differences to make this a general point.

If you have specific examples, you can certainly share here or contact me offline to discuss.

some mega-oem only sell its product, but can't provide good technical support. For example ADI distributes so many brands, its sales people are not familiar with what they sell

Undisclosed 4, thanks. ADI is an interesting case as they are a distributor who is now increasingly becoming a mega-OEM. However, as you point out, unlike more traditional mega-OEMs (including sister company Honeywell Security), it does not appear from our testing / interactions that they are providing clear / coherent tech support for their W Box IP cameras / NVRs.

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