>90% of things we buy come from Asia and we have no clue who >manufactures them. Why is it a concern now? > >I doubt that these Ebay imports even care about some US >labeling law. > >Americans buy huge number of "no-name" batteries >from Asia. I see that in the remote control toys/hobby >industry too. US is flooded with these quality batteries sold >for a fraction of what similar packs go for in brick stores.
>I doubt that someone in Asia would build a factory to supply >products for Ebay market only. I would speculate that these >factories produce batteries for brand names electronic >manufacturers only. I doubt that they would make >"Ebay" packs to a different standards. > >Battery is simple to make. It either work or it does not. >Given the currents the pack does not need to be super high >technologically advanced cutting edge. It is the same pack >that is in your cell phone.
Your statement holds true for Alkaline cells and other single cell batteries, but for Li-Ion packs this is not the case. There are three parts to a Li-Ion battery pack: the cells, the casing and the control circuit board. The, "Made in China," stamp simply means that they were assembled in China, however there are few Li-Ion cells actually made there, so likely only the control board and the casing were made in China. Origin labeling laws are strictly enforced by CBP on any Li-Ion shipment because of the potential danger involved.
Li-Ion batteries are sufficiently dangerous they have grounded the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, while it was still equipped with the best cells available; a Li-Ion fire cannot be put out, starts spontaneously and is much more likely to occur with a third party battery than a first party (although it's rare with either). This is why the control board is in there: it monitors the health of the individual cells in the pack, and instructs the charger how to charge the battery, and provides the status readout for the camera's battery level. It tracks every single charge/discharge cycle, the level the battery was charged or discharged to, and every other detail. Yes, this means that the intelligence in the battery is actually in the battery itself, not the camera or charger, which are dumb units. This is all described by the IBM/Toshiba/Duracell joint specification on Smart Batteries, developed in the 1990's for the IBM ThinkPad to allow it to use different battery chemistries at any time (it still does that today, but as the vast majority of cells are Li-Ion, that part of the specification is fairly irrelevant). That same SBS (Smart Battery Subsystem) chips is entirely responsible for the safe running of the battery: preventing dangerous overcharge situations and the like, and all-in-all, the small chip on a modern Li-Ion battery has as much computing power as the Gemini spacecraft.
On top of all of the above, Nikon uses a cryptological lockout on their batteries control boards to ensure you only use first party ones. This, of course, has been reverse engineered, to a point, but Nikon does keep coming up with newer ways to lock out third party batteries. Each new camera body may and usually does include a new method to lock out third party batteries, which must be circumvented by newer knock-off designs.
While the factory I'm sure does not produce only for eBay, saying that it produces for major manufacturers is taking a very US-centric point of view: these knock-off batteries are exceedingly popular in Asia, India and developing markets, the US importation is simply a lucrative side business where they can sell the knock-off batteries for many times their original price. I recently visited DXB, and saw the knock-off EN-EL14's being sold for 25 AED - that works out to under $7 for a battery pack, and they looked just like the ones on eBay. The cells may be from the same place as the Nikon ones, but, read above: the important part is less so the cells and more so the control circuits.