I like reading cyfa2809 views
And majority of parts have to meet certain standard regulations anyway although im not sure if the asian companies stick to them (rigourously?) or not.
I think the 'made in taiwan' tag doesnt necessarily mean cheap crap anymore.
Chatting to a few LBS owners, it would appear 95% of major brands you have heard of are manufactured by the same handful of factories in Taiwan. The designs and final assemblies
(drivetrain and stickers) may be done back at the brand's HQ but manufacture is all done there.
Giant are the biggest manufacturer in the world, but only do their own brand. Merida are next biggest, IIRC they do Spezzie, Kona, Boardman, Carrera and of course their own brand. Kona and Spezzie frames have also been sold as Carreras with the difference being drivetrain and price. The frames are also sold as different brands in other countries.
A friend of mine lives there and he says the whole place is very much into being "Cutting edge"; the standard of living is very good. The quality control in factories is a source of great pride as the Taiwanese like to distance themselves politically from the mainland Chinese.
The Taiwanese plants are themselves under threat from factories in mainland China undercutting them, which is why unemployment is appearing on their political radar for the first time since the 70s.
Regarding carbon itself, I am 14 stone and having seen (not personally mind; on the internet) carbon bars shattering, I've decided to go with carbon-wrapped alloy on my Bontrager for bars and stem. I have got carbon forks but as the bike won't be doing rock gardens I am happy.
Some of the deals on ebay seem bonkers cheap though; unbranded carbon frame, stem, bars, post and seat for around £400 IIRC. Don't know anyone that's taken the plunge yet but it's tempting.