Market responds to demand, econ 101. Without demand there is no reason to produce
Yes but only to a small extent, and it can go both ways, some thing are better today, many of us lament that cars are too complicated today, often you can't even work on them because you can't buy brand specific tools or the expensive diagnostic tools needed to find the problems, yet those simple cars of the '40's, '50's, and '60's needed allot of maintenance, frequent oil changes and tune ups, and were pretty well finished at 80,000 miles.
Today most cars will go 100,000 miles without having to have the drive train worked on, cars and light duty trucks with 250,000 miles on them are not uncommon, bias thread tires were good for about 25,000 miles for the high end models, I just bought a new set of mid priced tires for the wife's Volvo that have a 60,000 mile warrantee.
On the other end of the spectrum, Back in the '50's, '60's, and '70's Buck knives were the go to quality sportsman's blade of choice, I have a vintage Buck Skinning knife I bought back in the '60's that been through more game than I can remember and even did duty as my main woods knife for several years, outside of a faded finish it's still like new, hard to sharpen, but takes a good edge and hangs on to it like few knives I have in my collection, I also have a Buck special that one of my grandsons gave me as a birthday gift, it's still made in the US still looks the same as a sixty year old Buck special, but it won't take a decent edge, and it dulls after a few light uses, hard use results in chipping and or rolling of the cutting edge, in other words, it's junk compared to my vintage Buck knives.
My point is that while demand does drive the market, it's industry that sets the standards for the goods they produce, and as long as we the buying public continue to buy the junk they turn out, we will continue to have to choose which brand of junk we want to buy.
When talking about Chinese made knives two companies that stand out as far as being tuned to the demands of it's customers and putting out consistently good quality low priced cutting tools Gerber is one and Schrade is the other, and I'm pretty sure that Schrade makes knives for the Winchester and Colt brand knives, I watched a good Gauntlet review video by "bushcraft on Fire" just yesterday that tested and reviewed a new Schrade hunting styled fixed blade knife, it had a 4" inch hollow ground blade of 440C Stainless, heat treated to a Rockwell rating of 59, was full tang, had burled Ironwood scales with nickel steel bolsters and pins, the fit, finish, and edge grind were flawless, just a beautiful knife.
The testing included slicing, battoning, feather sticks, and lastly as is the norm with Brian on Buchcraft on Fire he threw the knife half a dozen times at a tree trunk in his back yard, the knife came away undamaged and still shaving sharp, not bad at all for a Chinese made knife, oh, and the price on Amazon is $28.99 including a high quality wet formed leather belt sheath.
My aim here is not to diminish high end knives or to take away from custom made knives, it's to suggest that there are options out there for those who can't afford to lay out a hundred dollars or more for a high end production or custom made woods knife other than rubber handled plastic sheathed Mora styled knives.