“In 2014 I met a Chinese woman, so powerful, so ambitious to make life happier in China. She immediately adopted our Yalp products and introduced me in the Chinese market. Since then, I am part of her dream to make life happier and more active in China. Her name is mrs Zhou. She changed my life and probably I have changed hers.” – Ben Admiraal
Product developer Thomas Hartong and Founder & Ceo Ben Admiraal share their story of their Chengdu visit in celebration of the Chinese New Year.
Thomas: Sometimes, you make special trips as a product designer.
Last week was one of them. Together with Ben, I visited Pureland, our distributor in China, for the creation of a new soccer concept. This was my second trip to Chengdu and to China.
Ben: China is growing rapidly.
The country aims to become one of the greatest soccer countries in the world by 2050 according to a plan they released in 2016. They want to increase the number of people playing soccer by focusing more on sports and play and integrating this into the public space. Many new soccer fields and cages are being placed into public parks and we at Yalp see great potential and many opportunities in China’s plans to become part of the soccer elite.
Our interactive sports and play equipment (especially our Sutu soccer wall) are greatly appreciated by our respected partner Pureland and they are actively using them in designs for future playgrounds. We’re proud of our joint achievement of establishing over 25 projects in China and it doesn’t stop there. We’re taking our plans to the next level.
Every time I travel to China, I get excited. I never know what to expect and that’s one of the things I love about the country and Pureland. They’re always working on big projects and their work ethic inspires me and make my visits more useful and fun. – Ben
China is going to exploit certain playgrounds (or WeParks as they call them) by giving courses and trainings on location. In these so called WeParks, our Sutu soccer wall is going to be the big eyecatcher. We’re going to connect the Sutu with WeChat, screens and cameras to create a smart and modern soccer practice location where we can measure people’s progress and scores. Together with Pureland, we’re going to continue this amazing development.
Thomas: It really is amazing to work with Pureland’s passionate team.
We explore new possibilities that can be feasible within months. If everything goes as planned, we can try out the proof-of-concept of the WePark in April this year. In the image below you can see the design of our WePark in Chengdu. We’ve already rented the space which is located in the middle of downtown Chengdu, close to public schools and the metro station.
Chengdu is the capital of China’s southwest province Sichuan. With a population of more than 10 million people, Chengdu is one of China’s largest cities. The city is famous for the giant panda breeding research base and its gastronomy. I totally approve the kitchen: It is really fresh, divers, delicious and spicy. – Thomas
Thomas: We were invited for their year-end and it was a big happening!
It was a big event with over a 150 people, consisting of customers and business relations. There were lots of music and scenic performances, including dragons and dancers in superhero costumes. We were treated as special guests and had an amazing dinner, with a lot of cheers with wine and saying cheese to the camera.
Ben: I got the opportunity to give a speech myself.
I sent my lines in beforehand for the translator, but spontaneously decided to change the entire speech as I was talking. The translator looked at me, kind of startled by my sudden decision to switch up. Hopefully I didn’t make it too difficult for him.
When it was time for us to leave, me and Thomas left Chengdu with a good feeling and proudly look back on a successful trip. I’m proud of everything we have accomplished so far and the things that are yet to come. I’m also very proud of Thomas, who is in charge of the product-development of this amazing project.
Thomas: I am looking forward to the next visit to see the proof-of-concept and of course, taste more of the delicious kitchen.
-Thomas Hartong & Ben Admiraal