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Old November 5th, 2011, 00:37   #6
MaciekA's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted by makinitbig View Post
Some of the companies I never heard of... Socom gear?
SOCOM Gear is a subsidiary/sister company of Madbull, which is based in Taiwan.

Madbull produces many accessories and parts, tons of Marui-compatible stuff. Pistons, hopups, inner barrels, front sets, handguards, stocks, many assorted gearbox parts, lubricant, grips, lithium polymer batteries -- you name it. Just like G&G, they have very slick marketing and are getting very good at media production (video, graphics, catalogues, logos / typography / etc).

These guys get social media:

Most of SOCOM Gear's products are rebadged and remixed airsoft products from the other Taiwanese airsoft companies, VFC and G&G. For example, the SOCOM Gear PWS Diablo I have is a G&G GR-16 gearbox + hopup with a bunch of Madbull upgrades, namely the front set, Diablo flash hider, body, etc. Upgrading it with Madbull components is a snap, so it seems that the Taiwan partners are building a bit of an ecosystem.

I'm not sure what the exact nature of Madbull's relationship is with G&G and VFC, but they're obviously close. From my observations as a person with experience in the marketing industry, it's striking how much the Taiwanese airsoft companies resemble each other in terms of marketing strategies, slickness of media output (some of their videos are outstanding), graphics, branding and sub-branding, etc.

If you follow American airsoft culture and forums, you will quickly find that mainland Chinese airsoft companies are successfully capturing the hearts and minds of US airsoft enthusiasts, especially people who like to build and upgrade their own guns on a budget. If you do an archeological dig into the ancient-vintage FAQs on ASC, brands like SHS and JG are shat as if they're terrible poop, but as you look at more recent discussion, these guys are catching up bigtime (it helps to read what the gun doctors are saying). Chinese airsoft companies marketing sucks ass though. SHS's packaging has cheesy pictures of wolves. Jing Gong doesn't even have a website. Taiwanese airsoft companies are well-spoken of quality-wise here and elsewhere on the net, but today this may not be enough to grab the attention of customers in light of the improved quality of Chinese guns... especially in the US market where you can buy a great Chinese airsoft gun for under 200 bucks.

Therefore, Madbull/SOCOM, G&G, etc, are engaging in "differentiation" with high-production YouTube videos, fancy logos, clever product names, close partnerships with big retail chains like Evike, global media contests (video contests and photography contests... most of their current catalog was photographed by fans), fancy licensing partnerships (PWS, Daniel Defense, Stag Arms, Noveske, ACE, etc..), blowback gimmicks, vast catalogs of products (the G&G catalog is dazzling in variety.. check out their 2011 products and accessories catalogues in PDF format here: )... etc

Canadian players may scoff at it, but in a market like the US where airsoft is very inexpensive, this sort of spectacle helps move product.. Up here in Canada, I am observing people swearing by higher-priced brands like G&P, King Arms, etc, for the simple reason that gear is so much more expensive up here ($350 - 500) that when we make a purchase we want a platform that will last a bit longer. Makes sense. In the very short time I've observed this market, prices have dropped dramatically already, though. Having regular discussions with a Toronto retailer it seems that prices will continue to drop and higher quality guns will continue to come into the market. Same story as any market where demand rises and supply is ample.

I suspect that the wisdom of this forum will prevail and the rule of you get what you pay for will continue to rule, but I'm excited about being able to build a collection of reliable guns which don't break the bank and are easy to upgrade with a huge variety of aftermarket parts. So far my experience has been pretty rocky with most of my high cost guns (G&G, G&P, etc) breaking down in their very first game, so we're definitely not there yet.
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