Flashlight manufacturer Fenix is getting into the knife business under the brand RUIKE Knives. The move leverages the company’s widespread distribution in the West and precipitates expected easing of Chinese knife laws. The Shenzhen, China-based company kicked off the year by introducing an extensive lineup of budget blades and they say plans are in place to offer more premium knives in the near future.
With restrictive laws in China, many knife manufacturers focus on exports, but RUIKE says there may be a change in the law to correspond with the increasing popularity of pocket gear throughout the country. “With China’s economic development, more and more people enjoy going outdoors, which increases the demand for high-quality knives,” RUIKE’s Camille Hong tells us. “Based on the growing market demand, we have reasons to believe that our country will release restrictions on knives within certain limits.”
Though the domestic outlook is favorable, RUIKE also plans to target Western markets. Fenix flashlights are found throughout North America including in big box stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Wal-Mart. Piggybacking on Fenix’s established distribution network should make RUIKE an instant contender in the marketplace. “We are in the process of expanding our RUIKE distributorship in the local market as well as the global market,” Hong says.
Among over a dozen RUIKE 2017 blades is the new P831-SF, which features a 3.35” modified sheepsfoot blade and weighs in at a mere 3.3 oz despite its steel framelock construction. Another notable new knife is the P108-SF, a slim 3.46” drop point knife with a beefier overall build. The P108’s distinctive deep carry clip has a 3D, conical point of contact with the pocket and is fastened in place with a blue anodized disk. Fixed blades and multitools are also present in the new catalog. With materials like Sandvik 14C28N, the current offerings put an emphasis on affordability but Hong says mid- and high-end knives are under development.
The company is touting a proprietary feature called the Beta Plus lock. The mechanism prevents accidental disengagement of the lock bar, reminiscent of innovations introduced by LionSteel and Viper several years ago. Whether or not the Beta Plus will have fresh appeal for retailers and consumers remains to be seen, but Hong says RUIKE is confident in the mechanism. “We all know that however perfect a knife is, it will wear from long-term usage. We will stick to this design.”
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Hong acknowledged the competition in China has intensified over the last few years. “Chinese knife manufacturers are no longer merely satisfied with OEM.” She says the rivalry will continue to drive the quality of RUIKE’s products. “The rise of peers is bound to bring corresponding challenges and competition, but peer competition can also keep us vigilant. We will have better quality and service to ensure our competitiveness.”
Knife featured in image: RUIKE Knives P831-SF