Author Topic: The evolution of Sundia diabolos  (Read 3568 times)

passepasse

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The evolution of Sundia diabolos
« on: May 10, 2013, 11:47:24 am »
Experiencing another culture first hand is something that I would recommend to everyone. During a recent business trip to Sundia Sports in Taipei, Taiwan I found myself with more than the usual few hours before catching yet another plane to yet another meeting.
The result was that over three days I had the chance to pose many question and increase my knowledge of this prolific diabolo manufacturer as well as cultivating our business relationship.
Sundia diabolos have become over a short period of time the most requested diabolos in juggling shops around the globe.  When I made my first order some 5 years ago, Sundia was practically unknown in Europe. I had an inkling however that there was something about the brand that deemed necessary further research.
Ryo Yabe, the prolific Japanese world champion diabolist, had previously been a fan of an Australian diabolo brand and I had imported a few hundred of that diabolo with great success. So when Ryo told me he had now switched brands and was now using Sundia I was eager to find out more.
What followed was a frustrating few months of negotiating as the normal manufacturer-wholesale price structure that is practiced in Europe was not at all the same over in Taiwan. Why, I asked myself should I start importing a brand that would compete with others that had better profit margins?
Intrigue overcame common sense however and in the summer of 2008 the first Sundia diabolos arrived in France.

I remember at the time Jeremy, my friend and colleague at PassePasse saying that we would never be able to sell a diabolo at 49 Euros! Before this, the most expensive diabolo had been a tuned up Henrys circus diabolo with Teflon hubs. But even that didn’t go for more than 35 Euros.

To understand more the reason why so many great diabolo players are now coming from Asia, and notably Taiwan and Japan we have to go back to the end of World war 2.
After the war many immigrants came from China to Taiwan. The diabolo as many know originated in China many generations ago and was made of bamboo, an extremely strong material still used today in the construction of high rise buildings as scaffolding. Anyway, the Taiwanese government after the war declared that every school child should be taught five sports that would be unique to Taiwanese culture and among those sports we find the humble Diabolo.

So today around 800,000 Taiwanese children have the obligation to learn the diabolo at school!  The government have three major diabolo competitions every year for which the children can aspire to. In spite of the immense popularity of Sundia abroad, their biggest market remains their home country.

Apart from my interpreter, Tommy, I had the pleasure of being shown around by Britney a wonderful girl in her early twenties who works for Sundia. I was amazed to learn that she would wake up at 5am most mornings to go and teach kids and one school or another the diabolo before doing a full day’s work at the office of Sundia.
In the Sundia shop I saw many Taiwanese kids come in with their Mums, as they do in our Parisian PassePasse store, but the major difference was that rather than different sizes being proposed even for the youngest children, there is only the 130mm available.

Does this mean they are backwards or is it us in Europe with at least a dozen medium sized diabolos available that are in the wrong?
As a diabolo enthusiast and retailer of over twenty years that’s quite easy to explain for me. It all come down to the evolution in the different countries.

I remember in the early nineties when I first started selling diabolos at the flea market in Porte de Clignancourt in Paris that the parents of my clients often commentated that their own parents had before juggled with much smaller diabolos with a diameter of no more than 6cm. Indeed at the time, I only had for sale what we would call medium and small sized diabolos.
However the Evolution in Asia had come on very differently. As part of the manufacturing of the original bamboo diabolos involved steaming and bending a strip of bamboo to make the outer rim of the ‘bell’, this meant that the toy could not be made so small. But in Europe the diabolos of the 80s and 90s where already using rubber and plastic compounds which had not such size restrictions. Furthermore the less rubber used in the production the cheaper it would be and therefore more would be sold.
From memory, we dropped the smaller size from our range of diabolos in the late nineties after weak sales and the ever more present larger diabolo had come to be the most popular size. Evident really as we now know it is much easier to do the advanced tricks with a larger diabolo and these tricks just weren’t even invented in our grandparents age!
What is interesting for me is that back at the SUNDIA shop you will see a beautiful display of diabolos ALL the same size. However, in order to service each client properly they talk about weights. No these aren’t extra weights screwed into each side but quite simply come from different molds adapted for different age groups.
Whilst the best seller remains the Fly a relatively heavy diabolo, they also have the Nimble which is a light weight cup ideal for the younger kids. There is also the more advanced Shining of course and then the older version of SUN diabolos. Not many people know that Sundia also bring out a limited Edition every year which many collectors pre order.
I just love the philosophy of this company. Afu, who as well as being a partner in the business is also married to the President of the company, Yu, told me that he practically threw out of the door a sales rep who came to sell him inferior Chinese clutch bearings! This also make one think much more as a European about the old ‘made in China’ ethic. Didn’t you like me always associate Chinese/Taiwanese & Japanese products?  In reality over there Taiwan is a very expensive country and probably the equivalent of our Germany. Think about that next time you look at a label.

Anyway if you have deemed it interesting enough to read this far, here is a little reward for your effort.

New Sundia diabolo products for 2013.removed link
Competition axles are now available on the Shining and Fly series. There differentiate from the stainless steel models as they are made of Aluminium and brass and have a wickedly high tech electro plating on the out edge of the spindles. This all results in a net loss of some 20 grams.

Ever heard a plane take off? Never mind, You can imitate the sound with the amazing Whistling diabolo. Naturally equipped with 130mm cups but with the old shaped bamboo style whistlers inside made of a more rigged plastic. Available only in Purple, this diabolo is competition level ready. The axle is fixed only and not compatible with any other diabolo cup.

Finally we have managed to get our hands on a few of the Limited Edition 2013  Diabolos ( first come first served) !


removed link

Mod edit: Please respect the Diabolo.Ca policy on promoting your business on the forums.

CASERocks

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Re: The evolution of Sundia diabolos
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2013, 01:45:53 pm »
Thanks for sharing this fascinating insight into the world of diabolo in Taiwan.  I did not know that it was a sport taught in schools over there!  It's far different from here in the U.S., where even in 2013, most people have no idea what a diabolo even is.

Sundia diabolo products also continue to impress me with their quality.  Everything I use is Sundia now, sticks and diabolo.  I always recommend the Sundia Sun to people, as I feel it is the best diabolo I've ever used (I owned Henry Circus and Finesse before. They don't compare to Sundia). 

the_vik_vh

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Re: The evolution of Sundia diabolos
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2013, 11:57:20 am »
nice post i'd love to see more artikels like this one they are very interesting