Coming from working in a related manufacturing field, I'll tell you the facts: Comparing light bars based on the whole "America vs Chinese" stereotype is pointless. Truth is, of all the countries on the planet, China manufactures a lot more products than anyone else, and they manufacture A TON of products - from really bad, cheap, disposable stuff all the way to really good, high quality, reliable stuff (and aside from the quantity, you can say the exact same thing with products made in America, too). Without getting all into it, quick example of high-end made in China is an iPhone, which is always high quality components, manufacturing, quality control, and performance.
Also, like @Nissan4Life
mentioned above, there are many "American" companies based in America that sell products that are manufactured in China, or are assembled in America using China-sourced components. So as far as the "American vs. China" discussion, the bottom line here is that it doesn't matter where the item is made, what matters is the level of QC* (quality control), service, and support from the company selling the product.
*note, QC isn't just selling you the good products, but includes the quality of the components used during assembly, the quality of the actual assembly procedures, post-assembly functionality testing, etc. etc.
About the second part of your question: Is the quality of the premium brands i.e. Rigid Products (as an example) worth the cost? That just depends on what your definition of value is.
I bought Rigid lights, King shocks, PIAA lamps, etc. for my truck. I paid the premium price because I prefer using known brands, I prefer products that are proven performers, and I prefer brands where the company is established and has high marks for service and satisfaction. And yes, there is a "fashion" reason as well - they look good, people who know the brands know that they're not knock-offs or lower-end, and it makes my truck look good to me - which is what matters the most.
I'm not a fan of the whole "well I can replace my no-name lights 4 times for the same price as 1 set of Rigids" type of thinking. That opinion is strictly based on the illusion that you're spending less money for a product that you're assuming will be as reliable as the more expensive one. So for example say over the course of 2 years you had to replace the cheaper lamps 4 times. Great - then you just spent the same amount of money in the end with more hassle. You had to buy 4 times, install/uninstall 4 times, meanwhile the other guy with the Rigids has had trouble-free, reliable performance 2 years straight without having to replace once in the same time frame, at the same cost, with less hassle and labor.
has a good point too - depends on the purpose. If you're just buying lights to look good in the neighborhood, maybe you don't need premium lamps, because if they fail you can just go home, order another cheap set, install them a few days later, and be on your way.
Now try that if you're in the middle of a remote mountain while on a camping trip with no stores and no internet and no Amazon delivery, or try that in the middle of a race, (like @whitsler
) when your cheaper lights go out, and guess what - you have no more light when you really need it. Replacing is not an available option. GLHF.
Hope that helps you decide. I see this topic come up a lot due to my job, and in the end the bottom line really is this: if you can't afford it, then you can't. I'm not trying to be condescending or knocking on you personally, it's just the reality of your budget, and that's also what I say to prospective customers in my line of work. It's understandable that many people cannot justify spending on premium; that's why it's "premium".
So if "ebay/Amazon specials" work for you, then they work for you... unless one of the things you're looking for is being able to say a brand name (among other things of course) - then you go premium.