Thanks for this thread. I am a collector of Chinese and Indian low cost pens and I do sometimes make kit pens. I feel this way : Very simply put, a buyer looks for two things in a commodity
a) the physical shape , form factor, material feel -all the physical aspects
b)the prestige aspects like the originality, the material purity and the ownership pride aspect icluding how much is the money cost. A
All material things have come to Asia from the western countries, starting with the original, until local collaborative technology could develop. This collaborative technology branched into stronger Asian brands, and one sub-branch went to fakes and counterfiets.
But to an Asian mind the acceptance of a copycat technology comes much easy primarily due to reason of poverty. I my city, though there are thousand collectors who would take pride in owning a Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 original for USD 400, there are a million fountain pen users [ including the vast student community] for whom a $12 Baoer 79 or a $28 Crocodile 232 itself would be a very expensive pen- feel and functionality difference may be no more than 15%!
In Kolkata a vintage Parker51 gold cap cost Rs 5000/-[ about $85] but a WningSung 613 based on the same pen cost rs 60/- [ Hero 616 are not available nowadays, I buy mine from e-bay]. In fact the student community goes for the Gel pens costing between Rs 3.0 to Rs 30, functionally far superior to the FP's.
Come to the Indian made higher end pens, most people can not afford a $ 70 ebonite pen including collectors like us. indian made Parker Urban [ with a crude local converter and steel nib ] sells for Rs 1500/-[about usd 23] while the $45/- variant from Greece/ Malaysia are no better- an these are licenced makes.
The major non US-Europe user/collector of fountain pens are from China and india, and as i visit China also, i may say that the domestic sale volume is much much more than what is sold through e-bay/ amazon etc.
But affluent collectors from these countries would always choose to buy the original expensive ones for the prestige factor- but these two are mutually exclusive domains.
Back to my mention of pen making- let me tell you that, In India pen-kits per se' are not available for sale. So either one would need to make a kit-less pen or buy a kit from US/UK/Canada sites.
But the amusing part is, none of the kits sold at these portals are actually made in these contries. These are made in Taiwan and South China. And funnier still, the sub-components of these kits like tubes/clips/cap bands etc - a large volume is made in small shack in India and bulk supplied to china. This is one area where the retailers prefer not to speak up.
So, I feel all aspects would continue to stay, trade flow and originalty mixing, some faking/counterfitting as well as the sensitivity about the original stuff. Pen is a simple technology after all. And there are more need based users than collectors.