The announcement I have been waiting for some time has finally come out. Starting June 2009, all composite boats made by Confluence will be manufactured in China. That covers brands such as Wilderness Systems, Perception, Dagger, Wave Sport and Made River Canoe.
According to the press release, the reasons for the switch seems to be mainly financial which makes sense. It is considerably cheaper to manufacture and deliver boats from China then to make in North America. They feel that this will help make the pricing of composite kayaks for sustainable which could be good on the long term. The suggested price of $3000-3800 for a glass sea kayak is completely crazy in my opinion.
They are partnering with a family-run factory in Hangzhou, China who also builds competitive sculling and rowing shells. Though they don't mention it specifically, they have likely partnered with Hangzhou Olym Sports Company
(Their main website seems to have been hacked with a virus so it is a link to a different site with information on them).
What does this mean for the world of composite boats? The outsourcing trend is clearly evident with many manufactures now taking advantage of China's cheap labour and high standard of manufacturing. If it brings pricing down, that could be good for the industry which has been struggling to get people into higher-end boats over the past several years.
Critics of the trend are concerned that the environmental impact of shipping the large boats all over the world far outweighs the economical cost savings.
More info: Confluence Watersports To Move Composite Manufacturing