so the past weekend i met up with a friend and i got some really controversial but juicy information from him about Yonex. this friend of mine, to remain unnamed, is involved in the badminton industry. enough so that he knows a lot of the big names in both China and Taiwan, and have information and contact. and also as a disclaimer, he is not employed by Yonex but for one of Yonex's numerous competitors. as you know, Yonex rackets comes in different classes. there are the top end, "Made in Japan" racket, the mid-end Made in Taiwan, and the bottom end, "Made in China" the juicy part is this. he claims that even though the Made in Japan Yonex rackets are marked Japan, they are in fact, made in Taiwan or China. the materials are Japanese, but the manufacturing is actually done elsewhere. Yonex simply finds OEMs from these countries and have them made there. in fact, he claims that 70% of Taiwan racket OEMs are contracted by Yonex. there are a few questionable issues. 1. Yonex Japan has a few factories in Japan, what do they do? the answer is low volume and R&D. the top batches of the top end rackets are made there, JP/CN/CP or any rackets that goes to national players are made there. the first batches of rackets are test manufactured there to streamline the manufacturing process. R&D prototype rackets are made there. he claims that the cost is simply too prohibitive for Yonex to make so many rackets in Japan (as we know the number is ~1,000,000/yr for Made in Japan rackets). both labor, real estate, as well as cost in cleaning up the highly polluting carbon fiber manufacturing process. 2. How is it legal to label things Japan when they are no manufactured there? this the loop hole. Yonex rackets are manufactured with Japanese carbon fiber. by law, the product need to be higher than a certain percentage for it to be considered manufactured in that country. so by volume or weight, the racket is Japanese material. so they can claim that way. just that the location in which they are molded and formed and painted is not Japan. 3. then why don't they claim everything to be Japan made? including the Taiwan/China rackets. this is the interesting part. in order for them to claim a racket is made in Japan, the shipment of good needs to originate from that country. ie. when they enter port in the US, the shipment has to come from Japan, or at least passed through Japan. so they have the raw material sourced from Japan, ship them to Taiwan/China to be made into a racket, ship it through Japan, re-box, and then ship it to US, etc. that process is ok for the higher margin "Japan" rackets, but for the Taiwan/China racket is not cost effective. so they are shipped directly from the country of manufacturing, thus they cannot be label "Japan". - so that's the scoop i got from my friend. i am not 100% convinced that it is true but since he has inside knowledge in the industry and likely to know more than us mortals do, i am not totally rejecting the idea either. it is believable, but at the same time, against what we have been believing so far.