View Single Post
Old 04-23-2014, 08:46 PM   #233
Sanglier
Rookie
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 148
Default

This one really intrigues me. It's obviously way too old to be a "real" Babolat, if we go by the official timeline of 1994 being the birth year of Babolat frames. However, what could possibly motivate a factory to go through the trouble of creating a fake racquet that had never existed?

A 1994 French news article indicated that Babolat contracted two Taiwanese factories to make all of their frames, one was Kunnan, the other was Inhan. The Kunnan link is beyond obvious, but I have not been able to find anything on "Inhan". There is however a Taiwanese company called "Inhon" that specializes in graphite products, but it was founded in 2006 according to its website - more than a decade after the birth of Babolat frames. My guess is that Inhon was a subsidiary of some graphite material supplier that worked together with Kunnan to make the Babolat frames, and didn't become incorporated as a standalone company until much later. This would mean that Kunnan Lo essentially had the entire Babolat contract to himself from the very start, even as his overstretched empire was falling apart in a rather spectacular fashion.

During the boom years of the mid-to-late '80s, Kunnan Lo spent a lot of time in Paris, where his prized computer company Arche eventually went public. Is it possible that he also made some side trips to Lyon at the time to entice the Babolat folks to make OEM racquets through him (like everyone else already did)? Maybe this strange beast that we are looking at (quite likely a Kunnan-made POG under the skin) is a product of one of those earlier efforts, which set the stage for the collaboration that took many more years to come to fruition?

To my way of thinking at least, this scenario would make (slightly) more sense than some random factory creating a fake racquet that had no genuine counterpart, at a time when the brand itself was not known to be engaged in any form of racquet-making.

It's really too bad that racquet-hoarders don't typically track provenance! The answer could have been quite straight forward otherwise.

Hopefully the person who bought this thing would visit here and share with us his/her firsthand observations...

----
Sanglier is offline   Reply With Quote