My, don't you look familiar

This is an exploration into where gadgets on Amazon come from. I was recently shopping for a USB 3.0 Hub on Amazon and came across these two items that look eerily similar.Compare this Sabrent USB Hub to this ORICO USB Hub:

Sure, those devices aren't exactly the same, but they're pretty darn similar. This makes me really curious about the manufacturing process. Maybe they're even coming from same manufacturer. Now, the device I really wanted was the well-reviewed Anker® USB Hub with 9 USB 3.0

Coincidentally, most of these brands are also only available on Amazon. I decided to check Alibaba (the online marketplace to find Chinese manufacturers) to see if I could find a match, and sure enough, I came across several USB hubs that looked liked the one I explored. How about this one? 10 port mini usb Hub within 9 usb 3.0 port and 1 usb charging port:

Is this the same as the Anker® branded hub? No idea, but I was curious how much it would cost to order a batch of them, so I sent an email through Alibaba to the manufacturer (I think Alibaba fills in some of the copy):

I would like to know the price for 10 port mini usb Hub within 9 usb 3.0 port and 1 usb charging port. I am interested in buying 100 Piece/Pieces.
Please provide us with a quotation.
Thank you.

And today I received a response:

Dear Ben,

Thanks for your inquiry.
This is Tom.

The unit price for this 10 port mini usb Hub 3.0 is $22.15.
And the shipping cost for 100pcs to your city in USA door by door is $262.
Products are guaranteed top quality.

I sincerely hope to build a good cooperation with you in the near future.

Best regards, 


Thanks Tom. So including shipping the cost per device is $24.77 compared to the $59.99 Anker charges. I don't really have anything to add other than I find this interesting. 

Amazon does too, apparently, since they're starting to sell more and more Amazon-branded items via their Amazon Basics brand, like this 7 port USB 3.0 Hub. It'll be interesting to see how we continue to close the gap between manufacturer and consumer.

Cover photo by Jeff Sheldon