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JR Propo / Japan Remote Control Ltd - gone bankrupt

Old 12-28-2017, 01:15 PM
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JetPlaneFlyer
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Default JR Propo / Japan Remote Control Ltd - gone bankrupt

I'm not sure how many JR users we have in the forum, not great news i'm afraid. I know there has already been lots of speculation but it's official now. Formal bankruptcy was filed for in Osaka Japan yesterday 26th December:

Japan Remote Control Co., Ltd. (Capital 3,600,000 yen, Higashi Osaka-shi Eiwa 2-2-12, Registration side = 392 Shirakibucho-cho Matsusaka city, Mr. Akiko Ezaki and 2 others). On the day of December 26 Osaka District Court received a decision to commence bankruptcy proceedings.

Link to the announcement (in Japanese): http://www.tdb.co.jp/tosan/syosai/4412.html

According to the announcement the outstanding debts are ($36 million), which seems hard to reconcile for what wasn't a huge business
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Old 12-28-2017, 02:41 PM
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JRC in fact is a larger concern than just RC gear ... it was only one offshoot from a web of products.

The first nail in the coffin was most likely Spektrum ... having the two lines on the shop counter .... Spektrum basically owing its existence to JR and then the two breaking apart.... Spektrum developed 2.4Ghz module based on the original JR Propo backpack module and radio itself.
It was only a matter of time before economic reality would hit.

Futaba I reckon is next ....

Nigel

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Old 12-28-2017, 03:04 PM
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Never understood why JR split from Spektrum. They had the biggest part of the market share by far and JR went their own way with their new system. Probably a very good system but the price points were way too high for the average entry level RC guy while Spektrum remained relatively inexpensive.

I still have my JR 9303 radios, a DSM2 that is my Sons and an upgraded DSMX and really like them both. The quality built into them is great. I know there is newer, flashier radios out there but I just can't bring myself to getting rid of these while they still work like a top.

Sad to see this.
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Old 12-28-2017, 10:51 PM
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I had heard that JR were moving their production to Taiwan a few months ago. Something to do with production problems in Japan.
Obviously there is a lot more to the story now.
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Old 12-29-2017, 07:34 AM
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I look at the world and see so many similar scenarios ...

Land Rover developed workable consumer 4wd ... so the company gets allied with various majors through its life ... the techno gets copied / modified ... now the world and its monkey has 4wd ... AWD ... Active Drive .... etc.
The originator left to die ... (OK LR didn't as Indian Co. picked it up and did wonders with it).

JR developed the plug-in backpack to customise the Propo to whatever frequency required / National Rules ... Spektrum latched on - put their 2.4 into the box.
Later when it was shown that the original 2.4 system was not as proof against swamping as advertised - they both devise new Freq hopping and companies divide.

Unfortunately JR does not have an Indian Co. to pick up the pieces to revive it ...

The RC world is dominated by budget gear .... ask Futaba ... Jeti ... and of course sadly JR.
Spektrum basically tops out the budget market ... and even they feel the pinch ... lets be honest if it was not for Customer Loyalty and people having invested in Spektrum gear initially - the market would look different. Spektrum stays top for now because of that .. but times are changing ... albeit slowly ... but its happening.

I was a devoted JR user .. still have my JR 8 ... one of the best radios I have ever used or seen. Nothing ever came close. But modern times ... and Open Source proved superior as a package.

Nigel
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Old 12-29-2017, 09:20 AM
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Latest news is that the JR brand may continue despite the loss of 'JR the company'. Apparently Japan Remote Control Ltd sold off the JR brand name and manufacturing rights to a 3rd party some time prior to filing for bankruptcy. Production is apparently continuing through this 3rd party.

How this deal will stand up when it's investigated by the liquidators looking to recover the $36 million debt i'm not sure as it sound a bit 'dodgy' on the face of it. Hopefully it will stand up to legal scrutiny.

Here's what the American JR distributor 'JR Americas' said about it: press announcement

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Old 12-29-2017, 02:26 PM
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Default JR will continue

The eventual bankruptcy filing of the previous JR Propo company is not a surprise and was anticipated. As a result, JR product manufacturing has indeed been reorganizing over the past 18 months under the factory and Konishi Mokei Co. Product is flowing, new receivers on the way, etc. Fear not.
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Old 12-29-2017, 03:22 PM
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My concern is that JR Remote Control (aka JR Propo) have gone bankrupt owing 4 billion yen ($36 million).. that's going to leave a lot of people looking to recover what they can of their money.

I'm not sure how the transfer over to the new company was done but it sounds on the face of it rather like all the assets of value (brand names, stock, designs, intellectual rights, manufacturing facilities etc) were moved from the floundering JR Propo to create a new company which was free from debt. The original JR Propo company is then made bankrupt carrying all the liabilities but with none of the assets. This if it were true leaves your creditors whistling in the wind for their $36 million and the ex-JR Propo management sitting pretty with a brand new company which owes nothing.

If that scheme sounds too good to be true that's because it is, it's called 'massive fraud'.

Dont get me wrong, i'm not accusing anyone of fraud here but when a company folds owing $36 million then you cant just assume the creditors are not going to try to recover whats owed however they can. This may have all been sorted out prior to bankruptcy but at this juncture i dont think anyone knows for sure, that would include JR Americas who are after all just a customer of JR propo and probably dont have much more insight into the details of the bankruptcy proceedings than you or I.
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Old 12-29-2017, 05:24 PM
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I agree that open source is catching on. The FrSky line up is impressive . Clearly a disruptive force. The X10S is super impressive but I believe it’s intended for the Hobbiest who is willing and has the time to dive deep into programming. High quality at an extremely attractive price. The Spectrum line up is basically designed to take the guesswork and complexity out but also limits capability to what it allows one to do.

I don’t think Futaba will go away anytime soon. They still have a loyal following. Converting to DSMX2 for example is like suddenly being transferred to Rumania and being the only one not able to speak Rumanian.

The JR gang can easily migrate to Spectrum for the most part without too much pain. Airtronics is gone too.

Oh well, there will always be a supplier.
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Old 12-29-2017, 09:00 PM
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Airtronics has been re-labeled as Sanwa, a Japanese RC manufacture that was also looking into purchasing JR prior to the BK filing........may still be considering it if the BK becomes a re-organization (Chapter 11) rather than a full blown (Chapter 7)......Sanwa has ties to Konishi which had purchased some of the rights of JR over a year ago....!

JR's "intellectual" properties had been transferred to Spektrum some time ago......never seen anything in the press about that aspect. When we were shopping for commercial equipment back in 2015, a Spektrum marketing rep mentioned that to us after our inquiry related to the JR/Spektrum relationship that was common knowledge at the time.
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Old 12-29-2017, 10:08 PM
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My memories are of Sanwa Radio systems many years ago. Then they disappeared. Maybe because they re-named Airtronics. They still have land transmitters for RC cars etc.
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Old 12-30-2017, 10:22 AM
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We all look at these companys in terms of our involvement ... RC.

All of them have ties / offshoots to various industrial / commercial interests. Futaba is famous for its provision of control gear to movie industry and various aerospace. That will probably prop up the RC side.
JR was despite the 'different name' connected with various others such as JRC.

Brand names come and go ... but the gear lives on usually.

JR's sale prior to Bankruptcy is not unusual .... in fact its common practice to 'sell debt' ... sell off assets and resume debt ... careful how you do it ... but it happens ...
There are companys who specialise in this transfer of debt - one of my own companys - I used such service not so long ago - to allow me to refocus company ...

Its a murky world out there ....

Nigel
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Old 12-30-2017, 05:51 PM
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How many models (fixed wing, heli, drone) did you purchase in the last few years?
How many radio systems?
With computer radio systems having 30, 50, 250 model memories, and (let's face it) fewer and fewer younger people getting into the hobby, the segment of those in the hobby shopping for a new radio system is miniscule. Not everyone needs (nor wants) the latest 18 channel gee-whiz radio. For the vast majority of flyers, 6 or 8 channel systems fill their needs. People decide on a radio system, buy it, and continue to use it for a lot of years. Sure, they may still need additional receivers, servos, and accessories, but radio sales? As the numbers in the hobby decline, radio sales are going to be the first thing to take the hit.
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Old 12-30-2017, 06:06 PM
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From Nigel
"Brand names come and go ... but the gear lives on usually."

When I learned to fly RC, The big brands were Kraft, Proline, World Engines, RS, Futaba, MRC and others I can't remember.

The only one that survived was Futaba (possibly others, I don't have a total list)

I guess now we may go through another shake up.
Somehow the hobby will survive.

They will pry my JR 9303 out of my cold dead hands.
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Old 12-30-2017, 06:18 PM
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solentlife
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Originally Posted by Stay Quiet View Post
How many models (fixed wing, heli, drone) did you purchase in the last few years?
How many radio systems?
With computer radio systems having 30, 50, 250 model memories, and (let's face it) fewer and fewer younger people getting into the hobby, the segment of those in the hobby shopping for a new radio system is miniscule. Not everyone needs (nor wants) the latest 18 channel gee-whiz radio. For the vast majority of flyers, 6 or 8 channel systems fill their needs. People decide on a radio system, buy it, and continue to use it for a lot of years. Sure, they may still need additional receivers, servos, and accessories, but radio sales? As the numbers in the hobby decline, radio sales are going to be the first thing to take the hit.
In most of that I agree with you. But I disagree with the number of ch's ....

Yes we know that most models will survive on 4 - 6chs as per RX .... but that forgets mixing that TX may be making.

Todays models have moved on a lot from yesterdays FM / AM analogue days ... when ch's were basically ch's to RX and no mixes. Today you can have a 16ch Tx mixing allsorts into a 4ch RX ........

In the 70 ... 80's .... 4ch was the recc'd starter radio ...
90's it progressed to 6ch

With advent of later 2.4 and lack of need of freq control ... foam models .... virtually prebuilt etc. - even 6ch became limited ...

Today a starter radio is better to be 8ch at least ... IF you want to stay with that radio for reasonable time ... 6ch is old hat and really stick it with the trainer package.

In the mid 1980's ... I blew a lot of money on a JR Propo 8ch radio .... because in those days - that was the pinnacle of radio ... which compared to todays ? Crazy !

JR was a world leader in class gear ... the Rolls Royce of RC .... Futaba was the BMW / Mercedes ..... others followed in their wake.

In the 1970 .. 1980's .... go to a flying field and it was Futaba M ... JR ProPo .... with a small number of Sanwa ... Skyleader .... etc. making up the fringe ...

JR was one of the pioneering RC company's ......

Nigel
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Old 12-30-2017, 06:49 PM
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JR were about more than just transmitters. JR were/are big into servos too plus of course while you need only one transmitter you need many receivers and for a 2.4GHz JR DMSS transmitter you can only use a JR DMSS receiver (which are far from cheap!) and you need one for each model. JR also do a range of top quality helis.

I think JR's failing was not committing to the 2.4GHx revolution quickly enough or effectively enough. Missing the initial 2.4GHz wave they jumped into bed with Spektrum with their DSM2 2.4GHz systems and in doing that they lost most of what differentiated them from their lower priced competition.
JR realised this and brought out their DMSS system but the killer was that they didn't (or couldn't) build in backward compatibility with Spektrum DSM2/X. Anyone wanting to stick with JR would then have to sell all their old JR DSM2/X receivers and start from scratch. Many people probably decided to stick with Spektrum DSMX because it would be too expensive and too much hassle to change. Add to this that the Spektrum moved more 'up market' with the DX18 in what was probably a deliberate (and successful) ploy to keep JR DSM2/X users in the Spektrum fold.
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Old 12-30-2017, 07:02 PM
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In the 80's ... JR were about the only brand that produced reliable servos in the 10-12gr range ... I shocked the shop when I asked for all the servos in my 8 box to be changed from the standard as supplied to the mini 5001? I think they were ... he said I was daft and would be stripping gears ....

Those servos outlived all my others ... the 101, 501, 401 etc.

JR was a leader for over 20 years ..... quality before anything.

I'm not a lover of BMW ... far from it ... come here in winter and see what the typical BMW does. But BMW can be likened to JR .... hanging on to its laurels ... refusing to accept change till late in the day .... JR to its name and user loyalty .... BMW to rear wheel drive with poorly balanced rigs !

Nigel
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Old 12-30-2017, 07:10 PM
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OK ... I am going to upset a lot of people now.

The demise of any RC company in reality is down to us ... the buyers. If we don't buy - they go down.

Local RC Shops .... RC Companys ..... JR ......

You cannot survive on less than break even trade.

It does not matter how good your product is.

If a Lada can take you across the country reliably - why buy a Rolls Royce ?

Nigel
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Old 12-30-2017, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by solentlife View Post
OK ... I am going to upset a lot of people now.

The demise of any RC company in reality is down to us ... the buyers. If we don't buy - they go down.


I'm not sure I agree there Nigel. There are two factors effecting how much 'stuff' a manufacturer sells:
  1. The size of the market
  2. Their share of the market

'1' An individual manufacturer like JR cant do much about. For whatever reasons the RC hobby market is shrinking. I dont think it's 'us' who are to blame because we are the ones still in the hobby and still buying stuff. It's all the people who have left the hobby or never joined in the first place and so aren't buying 'stuff' that's the cause of the shrinking market.

'2' Is the second nail in JR's coffin and the one they could have done something about. IMHO the main reason JR lost market share is the one I explained in my last post: Failure to commit effectively and early enough to 2.4GHz technology. Even if a Lada is reliable some people will still aspire to a Rolls Royce or a Ferrari, the high end RC market is still there (albeit shrunken like the rest of the hobby), take Jeti as proof.

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Old 12-31-2017, 10:23 AM
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JPF ... in fact we are singing pretty well same tune ..... if sales are not there ... down the tube they go.

The commitment to 2.4 ? Well I don't argue that - but JR's part in RC Tx development was the plug-in RF pack ... they even had a similar plug-in for RX's



.... the Tx box becoming widely used ...



When you consider that my 1980's JR Propo 8ch can have a 2.4Ghz module plugged in the back ....

I know in the UK - JR took quite a hit when McGregor premises burnt down, they lost a lot of the technical archives for the JR gear .... I was friendly with JR before and after ... in fact flew unofficially for them a number of times ... still have the large banner on back of a Tee-shirt !

I agree that people will buy top line if its worth the money. JR components were always top notch - even their gimbals back in 80's are better than many today on modern gear .. but given the nature of the hobby ... the profusion of 'extra functions' used today even in sunday sport models ? Its really a hobby that has outgrown the JR's and Futaba's .... because of price to get such functionality.

Todays RC is spread across a wider spectrum of people. The introduction of the Foam Model and virtually pre-built has expanded who buys, yes I agree that it might be a shrinking market in terms of general RC - but other forms like Drones are increasing. What I say - is that a wider range of people are RC'g now and many see the pricing ... and will not pay JR / Futaba levels ... even Spektrum is approaching limits for many - that's a major reason the Open Source radios caught on ... functions at a bargain price.

BMW .... Mercedes ... Audi .... Porsche ... they've all caught on that public want more for their money now ... no longer will a badge and 'claimed' quality cut the ice ... They've all entered into the budget arena to keep alive ...

JR didn't. It left it to Spektrum ...

Nigel
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Old 01-02-2018, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by pizzano View Post
JR's "intellectual" properties had been transferred to Spektrum some time ago......never seen anything in the press about that aspect. When we were shopping for commercial equipment back in 2015, a Spektrum marketing rep mentioned that to us after our inquiry related to the JR/Spektrum relationship that was common knowledge at the time.
He gave you bad info. Even in 2010 we were feeding info to JR on how to do telemetry. I personally met with the programmer working on DMSS, gave him some Spektrum source code, explained how it worked.

Andy
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Old 01-02-2018, 06:39 PM
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Wouldn't say the Rep gave us bad info Andy, he was not specifically referring to the DMSS protocol (which is not the only intellectual property involved). We all were aware of the "Spektrum" source coding patents and trademarks. Our discussions were more related to the modular transfer units, data storage and unit programming features JR pioneered, many of which Spektrum carried over to their products and refined.
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Old 01-02-2018, 06:46 PM
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No, those were done here. The physical dimensions of the module are not IP. The Spektrum data storage was something I developed personally, and the programming flow for both radios was developed by the same person, one of Horizon's first dozen employees. The Spektrum flow was a result of lots of work with customers who had difficulty understanding JR screen flow.

It's no secret that JR manufactured items for us from modules to receivers to servos (DS821 - same part number for both Spektrum and JR), to DX18 radios. IP flowed more from Horizon to JR than from JR to Horizon.

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Old 01-02-2018, 07:18 PM
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Andy,

Are you at liberty to explain how the tie-up between JR and Horizon came about, and how/why the separation occurred. Just curiosity on my part.

I'm assuming that JR and Horizon are long since fully separated so this bankruptcy announcement has no impact on Horizon.
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Old 01-02-2018, 07:41 PM
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Not, not at liberty. We sell some of their stuff, but Len handles the advertising and repair now. We sell Hitec too, and others. I have a wall in my shop for various bits, and it shows a lot of JR, Dubro, Spektrum, and E-flite.

Andy
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