When we announced the Year of Evolution we stated that the game as we know it is changing. In the weeks since, we’ve seen great support from the disc golf community. We’ve also heard from the doubters. We expected resistance, but know that when the dust settles, our new partnerships will prove to be the right move for not only Discmania, but our partners, and disc golfers around the world.
One of new partners, Yikun Discs, is helping us establish the Discmania Active line of discs. Yikun is the first Asian company to have products approved by the WFDF and PDGA. With products being exported to over 40 countries around the world, they are no stranger to disc golf, but Yikun and Discmania both feel this new partnership will not only make disc golf more accessible and affordable to new markets, but also strengthen the current supply chain.
Yikun CEO Yingfeng Xu says, this partnership will help get discs to markets that haven’t been introduced to disc golf, “The joint venture helps Yikun gain wider range of brand awareness and set up more connection with disc golf community. We established this company with mission of promoting disc sports. So it is a great feeling if these discs can be played by fresh players from different countries.”
Yikun was founded just 10 years ago, but their core production team has over 25 years of manufacturing experience. Their base line plastics have undergone eight generations of improvements in just the last six years. Specifically, the Discmania Active line has been throughly tested to meet quality and durability standards.
We talked with Yingfeng about his thoughts on partnering with Discmania and the new Discmania Active discs set to hit retailers this spring.
From Yikun’s perspective, what was your reaction when the opportunity to partner with Discmania came up? Now that it is a reality, are the feelings any different?
“To be trusted is a great feeling, and we appreciate this trust. Last December, I paid a visit to the Discmania team in Finland and we talked about this partnership. At that time, I felt that we were a serious 'player' now in disc golf industry.“
“After the announcement, I read online comments from players and received emails from Yikun fans. Now, I feel more resposibility and excitement to provide disc golfers with even more quality products.”
When we talked, you hit on innovation a lot. Yikun isn’t just standing still and making discs. You truly want to find new ways of doing things to become a leader, not only in disc golf, but disc sports everywhere. How much R&D goes on with Yikun?
“Each year, Yikun spends at least 30% profit on R&D and supply chain improvement. We cooperate with top clubs, good universities, and advanced plastics labs. We receive constructive feedback from players, detailed theoretical support from engeering schools and better quality plastic blends from five different labs.”
“Currently, Yikun has four main plastic lines, and each line has been improved for over seven generations. In 2018, Yikun released the first double-rimmed overmold disc which is unique and new to players. An academic team from Nottingham University spent one semester doing research, and provided a strict thoeretical report proving that this type disc flies further, straighter, and more predictable than traditional discs.”
There is a belief that everything made in China is of a lower quality and it can’t stand up to products made elsewhere. Talk a bit about Yikun’s focus on producing the highest quality product possible?
“It is not just ‘Made in China.’ The same thing happens everywhere worldwide. We believe in making a difference, and pursue long-term value instead of making quick money. It is more ‘Made by Yikun.’”
“Regarding Yikun's production, we have 100% ownership of the disc factory which means we are able to control the whole manufacturing process from molding and injection to printing and packaging. We are introducing 6s Lean Production to daily management as well as a robotic system to daily production. With better understanding of disc golfers' needs, we are confident and proud to provide better Made-in China discs.”
In China, Yikun is very well known, and quite popular, but it is hard to market the company and your products in North America, Europe, and around the world. This new partnership has helped disc golfers everywhere become more familiar with Yikun. What are the possibilities with this added exposure?
“Disc golf is still very new in China. Yikun's main focus will be put on promoting this sport in China and other emerging markets. This new partnership helps disc golfers get to know Yikun better and helps Yikun to promote disc golf better. Besides, we hope that more oversea players will come to China to play disc golf and experience Chinese culture. “
We are excited to see how this partnership has grown since our first discussions to today. As the Discmania Active line rolls out and we see this relationship make it’s mark on the established disc golf community and help that community grow around the world.