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  1. #1
    Administrator kwun's Avatar
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    Default Yonex rackets : are they really "Made in Japan"?

    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.

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    hmm.. interesting article

    I have same question too
    how they can make 1 mill racket in one year? (around 3000 rackets per day!)
    except they have a very huge factory or many factories in Japan

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    Regular Member visor's Avatar
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    Interesting...
    But apparently yonex high end rackets only cost about $10-20 each to make in large batches. So it doesn't matter where they make it, they still make money. Mind you there's r&d, sponsorships, etc to pay for.

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    Administrator kwun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avenger View Post
    hmm.. interesting article

    I have same question too
    how they can make 1 mill racket in one year? (around 3000 rackets per day!)
    except they have a very huge factory or many factories in Japan
    they have around 3 or 4 factories in Japan.

    however, not only the 1,000,000 badminton rackets, they also have tennis rackets and golf clubs.

    and we do know ~1,000,000 is true as we have been keeping track of Yonex serial numbers for years for "Japan" rackets.

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    Administrator kwun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by visor View Post
    Interesting...
    But apparently yonex high end rackets only cost about $10-20 each to make in large batches. So it doesn't matter where they make it, they still make money. Mind you there's r&d, sponsorships, etc to pay for.
    perhaps that number will be higher if they make them all in Japan instead of other places with cheaper real estate and labor such as China/Taiwan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kwun View Post
    they have around 3 or 4 factories in Japan.

    however, not only the 1,000,000 badminton rackets, they also have tennis rackets and golf clubs.

    and we do know ~1,000,000 is true as we have been keeping track of Yonex serial numbers for years for "Japan" rackets.
    yup, those tennis rackets and golf clubs too

    and also, those bags, shuttlecocks, etc

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    After reading this and starting to believe this is true.
    Now this make me wonder those "Made in Italy" leather shoes are really 100% made in Italy.

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    Administrator kwun's Avatar
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    did some more digging. went to Yonex's main site:

    http://www.yonex.co.jp/access.html

    here is the google street view of the Tokyo factory:

    http://goo.gl/maps/9JcU

    here is the google map of the Tsukanoyama factory (the Japanese says: Yonex number 3 factory)

    http://goo.gl/maps/S9FH

    and here is a big-ish site in Osaka with some trucks in front. even though Google Map not marking it as factory. maybe just a distribution center?

    http://goo.gl/maps/7MMU

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    Administrator kwun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avenger View Post
    yup, those tennis rackets and golf clubs too

    and also, those bags, shuttlecocks, etc
    bags, shoes, shuttles are not made in Japan. even the racket covers that comes with the rackets, they are tagged made in China if i recall correctly.

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    One thing to keep in mind as well, most laws in the west here require that the product has a certain "value" added before it can be considered made in that country.

    For instance, if you make a car out of steel produced in another country then yes you qualify, how about when you just sew on the buttons to a pair of jeans? How about if you just take a blank belt buckle and stamp your company logo on the front? The "value" is very ambiguous.

    My company imports many products from outside Canada, we buy products from the US all the time and some of them are considered "made in the US" under NAFTA even though the raw materials come from elsewhere, and some are not. Whether raw materials, finishing or just branding, the rules are open to interpretation.

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    I think they make shuttlecocks in Japan too?
    here some evidences
    bought it from Sports Direct UK

    cheap Yonex range, nylon shuttlecock Mavis 300
    one tube with 6 shuttlecocks: 13 (got discount and bought it for 8):



    Last edited by Avenger; 02-08-2011 at 04:25 PM.

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    Administrator kwun's Avatar
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    Avenger,

    thanks for the posting the pics. i don't use plastics so i don't know about them at all. but you are right, they are made in Japan. the feather shuttlecocks though, are made in China.

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    np Kwun
    now to add they also make shuttlecocks, so all of them combined
    is it possible for Yonex Japan make all of these?

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    And don't forget string - the ones with japanese writing are probably made there, certainly they charge enough for it.
    Last edited by johnlowe88; 02-08-2011 at 05:14 PM. Reason: change wording

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    I have always had a feeling that the Made in Japan rackets were actually made somewhere else... Yonex would want to maximize their profit margins, so manufacturing the rackets in Taiwan/China will cost much less than having them made in Japan. Of course using loopholes like this is also very clever (if the article is true) as this would allow them to decieve the buying public legally.

    It honestly wouldn't suprise me if it was true, but why hide it ? Victor and Li Ning openly admit that they make there rackets in China and Taiwan, so why wouldn't Yonex ? Or is it because Japanese products are sought after quite regularly, therefore labeling it as Made in Japan, is a incentive to buying one.

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    I think it is because people perception about Made in Japan in general

    having made in Japan would boost the sales as people perception that made in Japan product always good are pretty strong
    also that means they can boot the price since they are only one out of two (Gosen?) racket manufacturer that made in Japan

    I always think everything that made in Japan are good and willingly to pay more (For example Sony product)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Avenger View Post
    I think it is because people perception about Made in Japan in general

    having made in Japan would boost the sales as people perception that made in Japan product always good are pretty strong
    also that means they can boot the price since they are only one out of two (Gosen?) racket manufacturer that made in Japan

    I always think everything that made in Japan are good and willingly to pay more (For example Sony product)
    Agreed

    When I think of products made in Japan, I always have the image of Quality, Reliable and Durable products. The Japanese take pride in what they make, which makes goods made in Japan more sought after, as you are confident that you are getting a quality product in which will last a long time, or if your not satisfied they will do as much as they can to help you.

    Having this image, increases sales of a product. Having made in Japan, on something is more enticing and appealing to a large number of the general public, in comparison to having Made in China, Vietnam, Taiwan etc.

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