And, I think you are right about low end (China) vs. high end (U.S.). I think I also heard that.
All the more reason that I'm glad that I recently scored a 5' UL (1# - 4# test) hollow glass Lamiglas "old school" rod, on Craig's list. Fighting 14" trout on it, made it feel like I was fighting a 'nook!
Yurp.. all the ones that you will find in Bi-Mart, etc, are marked "Made in China" on the butt.
Saying that though, I also think on a lot of them it may be where the BLANK was made, not there the components were put together, etc.
WW Grigg has rods that are marked 'made in china' or 'made in korea' but he takes the blanks and makes them into rods.