FITBIE ON BELLICON REBOUNDERS
“I’ve been using rebounders for years, and the Bellicon is absolutely perfect. The tension across the mat is excellent—no rolling ankles if you are barefoot—and it’s SILENT—great for apartment living!”
Read more about what FITBIE has to say...
The Bellicon Rebounder…
“I’ve been using rebounders for years, and the Bellicon is absolutely perfect. The tension across the mat is excellent—no rolling ankles if you are barefoot—and it’s SILENT—great for apartment living! The different dimensions are also a plus for people who feel safer bouncing on a wider surface.”
—Ashley Borden, fitness and lifestyle consultant and author of Your Perfect Fit
THE FIRE WIRE ON BELLICON REBOUNDERS
“Do you remember the feeling of jumping on a trampoline as a child, the sheer pleasure, the sense of freedom and exhilaration? I have found that feeling once again. For months I have been researching creative and fun exercise alternatives in lieu of a regular boring gym routine. One piece of equipment really piqued my interest, known by loyal fans around the world as the Porsche of all rebounders, the Bellicon 44” and I finally got a chance to see what all the fuss is about.”
Read more about what THE FIRE WIRE has to say...
Bellicon 44” Rebounder Review
Throughout the years I have owned numerous rebounders ranging from $70-$300. All of these rebounders shared some common drawbacks, namely that the mats and springs frequently wore out and needed replacement, jumping for a prolonged period of time was tough on joints, but most annoying was the squeaky noise, sure to bother anyone within earshot. However, my biggest pet peeve with these less expensive rebounders was the leg attachments. After a period of time the screw thread connectors got stripped and were no longer durable and safe to use.
My bellicon arrived last week. I knew immediately upon taking the bellicon out of its box that this rebounder was unlike any that I had ever seen before. The frame is constructed with German precision made of solid steel and the mat is made from high-quality polypropylene rather than nylon or canvas. The mat is held into place with customizable bungee bands (5 different elastic bungee cords based on 5 body weight classes up to 440 lbs.) instead of typical metal springs found on most other rebounders. What I really appreciated upon assembling the 6 legs was the attention to detail and fine craftsmanship. The screwing leg mounts were solid and deep, lined up easily and screwed into the frame effortlessly. The bellicon sits noticeably higher than traditional rebounders (approx 13” versus 9”), but this additional height coupled with the highly elastic bungee bands, makes for a dynamic jumping experience, where you are able to get more air and the brief experience of weightlessness. One of the very best benefits of the bungee design is that not only does it allow for a cushioned smooth jump which is kind to your joints, best of all it is silent, not a squeak to be heard. The bellicon comes with a workout DVD that includes: Introduction, Safety & Setup, 20 Min Beginner’s Workout, 10 Min Advanced Workout, 25 Min Advanced Workout, 10 Min Pilates Workout, Balance & Coordination Workout, and finally a Stretching Sequence. The DVD is led by Katherine & Kimberly Corp from Pilates on 5th, NYC and there is definitely a workout for every type of fitness enthusiast. What is the one exercise that you will want to do every day? The one that is fun and fun it is! I put my bellicon right next to my bed, and it has been the first thing that I have done upon waking up and before going to bed each night. It feels so good to use, is a wonderful stress reliever, and best of all, it is so enjoyable, not just for me my kids cannot get enough of it as well. This is the one piece of equipment in my house that is guaranteed to be used daily and not sit idly in the corner collecting dust like so many well intentioned exercise purchases of the past. You can choose from two models, the bellicon color edition and the bellicon Premium, which has a stainless steel frame. Each comes in 39, 44 or 49 inch models, each also comes with a choice of screw-on or folding legs. You can customize your own bellicon here.
(Reviewed by Meredith Fire-Hess)
Found on: www.firewireblog.com
GLAMOUR.COM ON BELLICON REBOUNDERS
“Lovely readers, I can’t wait to tell you about my new fitness obsession! I’m (literally) bouncing off the walls about it…Gals, I have fallen in love with rebounding (that’s the fancy, fitnessy name for what’s otherwise known as jumping on a mini-trampoline).
Read more about what GLAMOUR.COM has to say...
October 25, 2011
“Your Fitness: The Exciting Thing I’m Doing for Exercise These Days
Lovely readers, I can’t wait to tell you about my new fitness obsession! I’m (literally) bouncing off the walls about it…
Gals, I have fallen in love with rebounding (that’s the fancy, fitnessy name for what’s otherwise known as jumping on a mini-trampoline). I became sold on the idea after reading a book by Natalia Rose, a natural health guru and nutritionist, and I finally splurged on one of my very own. My new Bellicon rebounder came in the mail the other day (it’s consistently rated as the top rebounder by the media, and is a Maxim magazine fave), and I have to say, this is the coolest workout ever. Ever.
Natalia Rose has written that no other form of exercise keeps her as svelte and lean, and I can see why. This is a workout! You’d imagine that bouncing wouldn’t provide much action for your muscles, but I promise, it does. A day later, I’m sore (especially in my core!). I plan to get up every day and spend at least 15 minutes on my rebounder (it collapses to store nicely under my bed). I also love how quiet it is! Because Bellicon uses bungee cords rather than metal springs, there’s zero noise associated with most trampolines. No, they’re not cheap (and I had to convince my husband that I really, really needed this fitness splurge), but in the end, I’m really glad I took the plunge.
I’m hooked! And, I’ll be circling back here soon to give you reports on my rebounding progress, including some workouts you can do on your own tramp.
Have you ever tried rebounding?
P.S. Do you have “runner’s face”? And, a word on muscle soreness after working out…
More Ways to Get Glamour: Chat with celebs, VIP fashion stars, beauty pros and more on our Facebook page! Visit Facebook.com/glamour for this month’s scheduleDownload Glamour Magazine for your iPad–print subscribers, it’s now part of your subscription plan! Enter the latest Glamour sweepstakes! Follow us on Twitter”
by Sarah Jio
MAMA NATURAL’S ON BELLICON REBOUNDERS
As the days get shorter and the nights colder, we move our attention indoors. It’s time for trying out new recipes, reading intriguing novels, and finding creative ways to stay active. One way to keep the holidays from hitting your thighs is to jump on a rebounder.”
Watch MAMA NATURAL'S Video Review...
Not familiar with rebounding? Think mini trampoline – and one of the best all-around exercises out there.
NASA called rebounding a more effective exercise than running. And it’s way easier on the joints.
Curious to learn more? Check out my video on the health benefits of rebounding:
A few reasons to rebound:
– Moves the entire lymph system
– Gentle on the body
– Burns the calories
– Facilitates detox
– It’s FUN
Mike got me a premium rebounder for Christmas, which I enjoyed but frankly it was LOUD.
With my son Griffin being a “sensitive” sleeper, I wasn’t using it much.
(Not to mention that I tweaked my knee doing kettlebell but that’s a whole other story .)
Well, that’s before the Bellicon Rebounder entered my world…
Whoa! What a difference! This thing is the Porsche of all rebounders.
Not only is the bounce smooth, gentle and effective, it’s QUIET. Why such a difference?
The Bellicon has bungees versus springs
Why didn’t I think of this? The bungees are softer, quieter, and help you to jump higher – maximizing the health benefits.
With a deeper bounce, your muscles are engaged longer and relaxed longer, which is why this exercise is so unique and beneficial.
In comparison to my premium rebounder, let alone the cheapie varieties, the Bellicon is like…
– Sleeping on 1000 thread count sheets versus 100
– Driving a BMV versus a golf cart
– Drinking apricot nectar versus pickle juice (try it and you’ll see what I mean)
WIRED.COM ON BELLICON REBOUNDERS
“The Bellicon mini trampoline isn’t an ordinary trampoline — it uses individual bungee cords to attach the jumping surface to the metal frame, creating an impact-absorbing surface that’s great for exercise.”
Watch WIRED.COM's Video Review...
Bellicon Mini Trampoline
Bellicon Reviewed by Christina Bonnington, October 19, 2012
Let’s face it, cardio is a chore. Unless you’re a die-hard marathon runner, you’re probably not having any fun slaving away on the treadmill or circling the neighborhood for a few hours a week.
So when I learned out about the Bellicon Mini-Trampoline, I was intrigued. Bouncing on a trampoline to work out? Heck yes. And it doesn’t have any springs: It eschews metal coils and instead uses individual super-elastic bungee cables to attach the trampoline platform to its frame.
The result is a pleasant, cushioned bounce that provides a surprising amount of air time. It’s fun, and if you actually take the time to use it regularly, you can work up a sweat and tone some muscles in the process. But if you’re expecting Jared-like weight-loss results, I’m afraid you won’t be able to ditch your gym membership just yet.
The Bellicon (which is technically called a “rebounder”) comes in three different sizes ranging from a 39- to a 49-inch diameter. Having tested the middle, the 44-inch model, I would definitely say bigger is better, as there’s not much room for error. If you get a bit over-exuberant (or just lose your balance a little), one big step and you’re off the trampoline. It’s not a big drop-off — you’re only 6 inches or so above the ground — but it’s enough that you could twist an ankle or crash into surrounding furniture if you fell off. Pro tip: Set it up away from furniture.
Bellicon teamed up with the New York studio Pilates On Fifth to produce a series of exercise videos that are available on Vimeo. Using these as a guide, you can develop a structured routine that works a variety of muscle groups in your legs and your core. If you’ve got dance or aerobics experience, you may be able to improvise your own workouts, but the online videos are a good place to start. (There’s also a workout DVD that comes with the trampoline.)
About five minutes into my first workout, my calves and glutes were already screaming for mercy — and I used to be a ballet dancer. You can also just do old standbys like walking, jogging, jumping jacks or just plain jumping, or add 3-5 lb arm weights to the mix for some upper-body action.
After a few weeks of regular use, I generally felt more energized. I didn’t lose any significant amount of weight (I didn’t really change my Mexican food- and beer-filled diet, though), but I did notice that my legs and abs in particular looked and felt stronger and more toned. My ankles also felt stronger from maintaining my balance on the supple jumping surface.
If you position the Bellicon near your desk at work or the home office, it’s a great way to burn a few calories and get an energy boost with short bouncing sessions throughout the day. And if you work out on the Bellicon Mini Trampoline for 30-plus minutes at a time, you will get a decent cardio workout. Whether that equates to weight loss or a trimmed waistline depends on the length and intensity of your sessions, and your current fitness level.
Overall, the Bellicon is a good at-home exercise option if you’re looking for something relatively low impact that won’t hog up half your living room space.
WIRED Easy to assemble. Super quiet. Bungee cords stretch up to three times their original length, and you can choose their strength depending on your weight and the type of exercises you plan to do most. Makes you actually look forward to working out.
TIRED Price, price, price. You can get a comparable 40-inch metal spring trampoline for an entire order of magnitude less”.
Photo by Michael Lennon/Wired
As seen on : wired.com
MAXIM ON BELLICON REBOUNDERS
“No Springs Attached – A new trampoline uses bungee cords for a perfect bounce.
Springs? Springs?!? We don’t need no stinkin’ springs! The Bellicon trampoline cans the classic coils in favor of elastic bungee bands that offer a gentler recoil. The result is a softer, more pillowy bounce that coddles your joints as you hop through long workouts and short show-off sessions.”
Read more about what MAXIM has to say...
“No Springs Attached”
A new trampoline uses bungee cords for a perfect bounce.
Springs? Springs?!? We don’t need no stinkin’ springs! The Bellicon trampoline cans the classic coils in favor of elastic bungee bands that offer a gentler recoil. The result is a softer, more pillowy bounce that coddles your joints as you hop through long workouts and short show-off sessions. Bouncing on metal springs can sound like a rowdy time at a cheap motel, but his tramp’s mouse-quiet bungees won’t give neighbors the wrong idea—or out-decibel your TV.As our testers put it: “Whee-e-e-e-e!”
Found in: Maxim, August 2011 and on maxim.com
THE WHOLESOME HOME ON BELLICON REBOUNDERS
“I know a lot/most people make some type of health resolution at the beginning of the year. Gym memberships start flying off the shelves at this time. If I can give any advise in regards to exercise, it would be to do something that’s not a hassle to do. Driving to a gym, for me, just got to be more of a hassle than was it was worth.”
Read more about what THE WHOLESOME HOME has to say...
“Fitness with Bellicon”
The method I found that has really been working out for me is rebounding. I feel amazing, it’s convenient, it’s effective and easy. I have toned up so well, in hard to work places and it makes me feel so energized. I used to spend an hour, at least at the gym, running, using the elliptical and also doing weight training, with little to no results. I don’t mean to sound like an infomercial, but rebounding really is the best form of exercise I have found with more results than I could even imagine! It’s a total health booster.”
To find out more information on them, check out the masters of rebounding, Bellicon. It really is like bouncing on a cloud!
Found on: www.thewholesomehome.com
UNCRATE.COM ON BELLICON REBOUNDERS
“Who knew that bouncing on a trampoline could be considered exercise? Well, apparently the German engineers behind the Bellicon Rebounder. These unique mini-trampolines provide a workout for all of your 638 muscles”.
Read more about what UNCRATE.COM has to say...
“Who knew that …
… bouncing on a trampoline could be considered exercise? Well, apparently the German engineers behind the Bellicon Rebounder. These unique mini-trampolines provide a workout for all of your 638 muscles simply by bouncing up and down, and use highly-elastic bungee cords instead of metal springs for suspending the mat, giving you a “floating” feeling that other mini-tramps just can’t provide.”
Found on: www.uncrate.com
COOLTHINGS.COM ON BELLICON REBOUNDERS
The Bellicon Rebounder is a German-engineered mini-trampoline. While there are plenty of other similar products in the market, this one features a unique suspension system that uses elastic bungee cords to hold the specially-woven mat in place of springs. According to the company, this allows it to deliver a quieter operation and more elastic bounce – one that makes you feel like you’re floating the entire time.
Read more about what COOLTHINGS.COM has to say...
“A Trampoline is one of those things I have always wanted to buy,
but never really got around to scoring one. I am pretty sure it would be a great workout option cause all that bouncing has to be exhausting. Plus imagine all the funny videos and mishaps that we could capture. Well, until I get around to getting a full size one, this mini trampoline, the Bellicon Rebounder sounds like a really enticing option right now.
If you have always thought people bought mini-trampolines for practicing circus clown stunts, it turns out they’re actually marketing these as fitness equipment. According to the product website, the mere act of bouncing up and down can cause your central nervous system to automatically flex and relax all 638 muscles in your body, making for a very efficient form of exercise (told ya so).
The Bellicon Rebounder is a German-engineered mini-trampoline that comes in three sizes: 39, 44 and 49 inches in diameter. While there are plenty of other similar products in the market, this one features a unique suspension system that uses elastic bungee cords to hold the specially-woven mat in place of springs. According to the company, this allows it to deliver a quieter operation and more elastic bounce — one that makes you feel like you’re floating the entire time.
Six legs hold the mini-tramp steady while you jump up and down. The standard legs are screw-ins (which can take two minutes to put on and take off), although you can request a folding version (for stowing away much quicker). They also allow you to equip it with handlebars, which should be a good idea if you like to bounce after a heavy drinking session.”
Found on: www.coolthings.com
AUBUT FAMILY ON BELLICON REBOUNDERS
“We have a large trampoline in the backyard that we love. We also have a mini one for the kids in the playroom. Both are fun and both give you a mini workout. But the difference with the Bellicon is how easy it is! Most trampolines this size are stretched so tight that there is not a lot of bounce- but with this one- you can fly! It is so springy and cushy- there is practically no Impact!”
Read more about what AUBUT FAMILY has to say...
From the Aubut Family Blog
You have to try this to believe it!
We have a large trampoline in the backyard that we love. We also have a mini one for the kids in the playroom. Both are fun and both give you a mini workout.
The difference with the Bellicon is how easy it is! Most trampolines this size are stretched so tight that there is not a lot of bounce- but with this one- you can fly! It is so springy and cushy- there is practically no Impact!
AND it takes zero effort.
The first time I tried this- I had two toddlers sitting on the sides begging for their turn. I jumped for about 10 min- had fun, but did not think much of it. I was not winded, did not feel as I did a workout. It was fun- and it was easy. But once I stepped off- I realized my legs were on FIRE!
I was so sore the next day! And that is a GOOD thing! It means I was working- but this was so fun and so easy I was mostly giggling while doing it and had NO Idea how it was working. And REALLY- what more could you ask for in a workout??
My favorite thing on the Bellicon is jogging! Sounds weird, but it is almost no impact on my knees, and I can go as fast or slow as I want and am still able to watch the kids, jump off in an instant if I need to, watch TV because it is totally silent (unlike my noisy Treadmill!) and can I say it again?
It is F-U-N!!
The kids get a kick out of watching me on this because I can not help but giggle and do silly things like jumping jacks or spins and jumps! I am working out while the kids are getting a show!
It is also totally portable, which is a huge plus. Obviously- the treadmill is in my room, and I am not attempting to move that around! I can throw this in the living room, and when I am done- put the legs down- and prop it
up against the wall taking up zero space! I have also rolled it outside when the kids are playing in the backyard- it weighs virtually nothing! Try that with your treadmill! LOL!
You MUST try one of these! I promise- this will make you want to “Work out” all day long! And just try not to laugh or smile when you are sailing through the air!
When was the last time you giggled through your workout??
Found on: http://www.aubutfamily.com/
HUBPAGES.COM ON BELLICON REBOUNDERS
“After you have been on a Bellicon Rebounder you will find going back to the steel spring version a bit like getting behind the wheel of a tractor after driving a Porsche”.
Read more about what HUBPAGES.COM has to say...
“After you have been on a Bellicon Rebounder you will find going back to the steel spring version a bit like getting behind the wheel of a Tractor after driving a Porsche”
Rebounding exercises where a mini exercise trampoline or “rebounder” are used begun in the 1970’s in the USA. It was at this time the benefits of having fun bouncing about on a small trampoline were scientifically explored. In fact NASA were hailing rebounder exercises as “the most effective form of exercise devised by man”. When bouncing on a rebounder you are exercising all the cells in your body at the same time. As you resist gravity when bouncing you are also exerting a gentle amount of force to your whole body.
Throughout the 1980’s the popularity of rebounding begun to increase not just in the USA but around the world and at this time inexpensive rebounders manufactured in China begun to appear on the market. However, these ones did not offer the same benefits to the user as the good quality models already available. The big advantage that the better designed rebounders have is that they don’t allow too much shock to be caused to the body because of the cushioning effect provided by the rebounder’s springs and mat.
A major hazard faced by people exercising whether running or doing a team sport is skeletal shock. However, the benefits of reducing the amount of skeletal shock placed on the body is pretty much lost if you chose to use a cheap rebounder. So if you do not want to end up ruining your first experience of this very enjoyable and effective kind of exercise it is worth spending a little more initially and purchase a good quality rebounder.
When it comes to the bounce of the rebounder the strength and profile of the strings along with how much tension and elasticity there is in the rebounder mat contribute to this, along with the how stiff and how well constructed the rebounder frame is. The quality rebounders you get from the USA and Europe today have advance safety features, namely the mats are made using the best materials possible and the strong dual taper springs ensure you have a progressive but stable bounce. There are a wide range of good quality steel spring rebounders now available, but to get one that meets with your particular exercise needs it is worth being prepared to spend a little more on one.
There are certain rebounders that the bounce is more soft and comfortable with a lower frequency. Then there are others which are much stiffer and so they create a more aggressive and faster bounce suitable for when doing the more vigorous aerobic types of rebounding exercises. There is some variety in the amount of bounce a rebounder creates but whilst the steel spring ones are great they don’t allow them to be customised to meet one’s own individual needs.
The way in which rebounders are used can vary they may be used to help rehabilitate a person following injury or ailment or to carry out intensive fitness training. So where the design is one that makes the rebounder more adaptable to an individual’s needs is beneficial. The biggest design innovation has been rubber loops being used instead of steel springs to attach the mat to the rebounder frame. This helps to allow you to make the bounce characteristics more customisable to suit your needs and improves the low impact and comfortable nature of the exercises you do on the rebounder.
It is in the 21st Century we have seen Bellicon AG emerging as a new European force in the manufacturing of rebounders because they introduced rubber spring ones. The company was founded on more than 20 years of research and experience into this equipment and has the backing of German and Swiss engineering. The revolutionary rubber spring rebounders from Bellicon provide a fully customisable range that are made using only the best materials and the best craftsmanship.
These top of the range rebounders widen the number of options to you allowing you to tweak and vary their functionality at a price. But if you want the BMW of all rebounders, the one that uses the latest research and development benefits, then do expect to spend a bit more.
When it comes to purchasing a Bellicon rebounder you determine what strength the elastic rubber (bungee loop) band should be by how much you weigh. Next you need to decide what size frame you want and you have a choice of three, the 39″, 44″ and 49″ ones. Finally you will then decide what accessories are needed and what you purchase depends how the rebounder is to be used. You can also purchase a cushioned rebounder frame pad, mat and spring guard if you want which is suitable for when young children are using the rebounder or if it is being used for physical therapy.
But you also have the choice of frame covers, which will meet your particular tastes along with stability handles who are unsure about their balance when on the rebounder. Also you can choose legs that either fold underneath the frame or that screw into it. Because of all these choices you may well find yourself spending more than £300 but compared to buying a good quality treadmill this is relatively inexpensive. Don’t forget that low impact rebounding is believed to more beneficial to you and certainly more efficient than running or walking.
Because German and Swiss engineering and craftsmanship are held in such high esteem across the globe you would expect to pay a price and Bellicon rebounders continue this tradition of excellence in manufacturing from these two countries. In fact these countries traditional production values continue to show in the quality and finish of the products that they create.
If you are looking for high intensity aerobic workouts then using a good quality steel spring rebounder is your best option and will cost a bit less. But Bellicon’s bungee band rebounders are state of the art and ideal for cardio workouts, plus there are various versions available which are used for different body weights.
Yet the Kunhardt method of rebounding is believed to offer the same benefits to those you would get doing more intense aerobic exercises, but you don’t need to use as much effort, especially when the deeper rubber spring rebounder is used. The greatest overall benefit to get from these exercises comes when you are working at around 50% of your maximum capacity. When doing swing rebounding you bounce rather than jump. It is very hard for someone to describe the strange sensation of doing work without dong any work when using the swinging type of bounce movement on the Bellicon rebounder. This particular model is designed toward doing dynamic exercise that is highly effective, and that allows you to increase the effort level so that you sweat more and which helps to make you feel as if you have done some exercise.
The rebound on this rubber loop spring model is long deep and comfortable, but is also very dynamic and powerful and helps to optimize the gravitational resistance which is exerting on every cell in your body as you bounce. Also you will find that the bungee rebounders are much more fun to use than the steel spring ones as they transition in the bounce is more stable and smooth. After you have been on a Bellicon Rebounder you will find going back to the steel spring version a bit like getting behind the wheel of a tractor after driving a Porsche.
THE NEW YORK TIMES ON BELLICON REBOUNDERS
For some, ‘Made in China’ doesn’t fit.
“The German trampoline maker Bellicon, with an annual revenue of €2 million, also says it regretted moving some production to China and has now brought it home”.
Read more about what THE NEW YORK TIMES has to say...
By Sylvia Westall
GIENGEN AN DER BRENZ, Germany — Wafts of golden fluff whirl in the air as Irene Basan wedges a bundle of material onto a spike and gently turns it inside out, right ear, left ear, then a snout, to reveal a Steiff teddy bear head.
She has been making Steiff toys by hand for 18 years in Giengen, the tiny south German town where the maker of collectible teddy bears – some worth hundreds of thousands of euros – was founded over 125 years ago. Chasing lower costs, Steiff outsourced around a fifth of its production to China in 2003 but has now decided to come back because of concerns about quality and staff turnover.
Steiff is one of a small number of German companies that are swimming against the tide and leaving China, despite its lower labor costs
and a burgeoning consumer population. With fuel prices at record highs, some cite mounting transport costs. Production of Steiff toys, which include a distinctive long-limbed bear with a melancholy growl, will come back to Germany and other countries in Europe by the end of 2009.
“A Steiff animal has to look cute, it has to look at you and say, ‘Take me in your arms and hug me, I’m here for you, I’m your friend,”‘ the managing director of Steiff, Martin Frechen, said. “If the symmetry is off and if it looks like it’s been run over by a car, it’s not what we want. People don’t pay for that.”
Consisting of around 35 parts and with an average price of €40 to €70, or about $60 to $110, the toys take up to a year to learn to make, and around 80 percent of the work is done by hand. But with twisted legs, bald patches and open seams, a “cumbersome” number of the Steiff toys made in China had to be rejected, Frechen said, because high staff turnover in a fast-growing economy meant workers did not have long enough to train.
“We don’t really fit in over there,” he said, pointing out that Steiff’s typical orders of around 500 lots were also too small to reap good cost savings in factories more accustomed to mass production.
Germany has been the world’s largest exporter of goods since 2003, but China has been snapping at its heels for the top spot – even though Chinese manufacturing was cast in a poor light last year after Mattel, the U.S. toy maker, had to recall over 20 million toys made in China, costing the company around $110 million.
Mattel, which produces over half its products in China, has since stood by its Chinese partners and tightened its quality checks. But for smaller companies, such quality control is difficult to implement, said Harald Kayser, head of the China Business Group at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “If you don’t have people from your own head office in China, then it is very difficult to manage the process,” he said. “Smaller companies have more problems in this area.”
A Pricewaterhouse study shows that companies can save up to 50 percent making their goods in China instead of Germany, but that businesses often underestimate logistics costs. Around a third of companies actually incurred losses by moving production east, the study showed.
The German trampoline maker Bellicon, with an annual revenue of €2 million, also says it regretted moving some production to China and has now brought it home. “We had to do so much extra follow-up work in Germany, such as dealing with customer returns, that when we calculated it we had barely saved anything,” said Heiko Schmauck, the manager.
He said the company had frequently visited its Chinese partner to try to build up a good relationship. However, once, during a six-month gap between visits, almost the entire work force at one factory had changed. “It was no surprise the quality varied so much. New people came, the quality dropped, then they improved their skills and left,” he said, adding that the Chinese-made trampoline parts did not reach high enough endurance standards.
Companies fail to take account of the total cost of business in China, including training, time delays and the monitoring of production systems, said Paul Midler, president of China Advantage, a business consultancy. “For every foreign company that is honest with itself and admits that manufacturing in China comes with a higher cost, there are countless others that will fool themselves into thinking that they can manage it with fewer resources than it actually requires,” he said.
He said Chinese manufacturing has advantages like speed and the “clustering phenomenon” where companies at all stages of the supply chain are based together, giving ready access to a network of sub-suppliers. But some companies say higher shipping and fuel costs mean producing goods in China no longer makes good business sense.
Global oil prices have doubled in the past year. A study by Jeff Rubin and Benjamin Tal of CIBC World Markets found that over the past three years, every $1 increase in world oil prices has fed directly into a 1 percent rise in transport costs.
The German automation company Hirschmann said in a statement that it moved back production of some its electrical components to Germany from China to cut down on the distance its goods travel, but added that China still remained an important consumer market.
A study by VDI, the German engineers’ association, shows one in five German companies returns to Germany after a brief foray abroad.
“This figure shows us that the ‘Made in Germany’ label remains a mark of quality,” the president of VDI, Bruno Braun, said in a statement.
Analysts have queried the VDI figures and say there is little evidence to suggest that companies are quitting China or other emerging market countries en masse for Germany.
DIHK, the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce, which surveyed 8,000 German companies, says only around 3 percent to 5 percent of companies come back to Germany each year and around a third have ambitions to grow in China. “It is absolutely normal that some companies fail,” said Volker Treier, the DIHK chief economist.