That is exactly what is happening. This is how Chinese production works across a myriad of product categories from aftermarket auto parts/accesories to HiFi audio. The quality ranges from pure trash to pretty darn decent depending on the individual product type.Yeah, I saw that. They also all look identical. Looks like some factory in China came up with the idea and sold it to a bunch of amp makers with the only differences being a couple of component values inside and slightly different cosmetics. I wouldn't be surprised if they are all made in the same factory using the same exact parts.
Even with the loop, the Hotone Britwind still has two footswitchable channels, reverb, decent sounding DI out, footswitchable boost, and rated at 75 watts. And the channels sound close enough to what they're modeled after that you don't really need to guess what it is when you hear it.
Really not sure why these are so much more expensive with a much smaller feature set. I could see them being $129 or even $149 but at their current price it looks like you're paying $100 simply for the name on it.
9 times out of 10 you can find an unbranded, identical product on AliExpess/Alibaba that is basically a direct sale from the Chinese factory that produces the units for branded sales (legit under terms of most Chinese manufacturing contracts). The unbranded direct sales are usually 1/4 to 1/10 the price of the exact same product with the brand logo applied.
Wait 6 months and you'll find these on Alibaba for $40.00.
Stop buying stuff produced in China.