Originally Posted by Naga Royal Guard
makes me wonder when they will ever get to where the Japanese were in the 80s and Koreans in the 90s
Probably never. The whole system is different to begin with, as long as any Western car maker selling cars over there has to form a joint venture with a Chinese company, the free access to their tech, and a legal system which makes suing any copy basically impossible will be too much of an allurement in comparison to expensive own R&D expenditures. This has also an affect on those Chinese companies that would actually do proper R&D, as they have to cut cost to be able to compete with these rip off companies, so their products end up rather below average as well. There are a few exceptions, like Geely, or, to a lesser extent, Chery, but the rest seems rather so so at best.
The other thing is that both Korea and Japan are - in comparison to China - very small markets, so the (also a lot fewer) companies had to concentrate on export, and there competing with established brands and models to grow, which made them better quickly. As long as there is the huge domestic Chinese market, still in most areas a blank canvas in terms of cars, and the market will soak up every piece of trash too from any small wannabe car company, the pressure to improve products and export them is far smaller than it was for Toyota or Hyundai, e.g.
Certainly we will see improved Chinese cars at some point in western markets (though announcements have been around so long and - most prominently Qoros comes in my mind - never came to fruition. Also, when they were sold abroad, they were either incredibly bad (much worse than any Subaru 360, Yugo or Hyundai Excel) - Landwind, or that Chery QQ Daewoo rip off - or, in case of a few SAIC models or the few mentioned Qoros ultimately sold, not cheap at all. SO again, very different to Japan in the 70ies/80ies and Korea after that.