Bowens has been reported as being into liquidation and will cease all operations. It seems as time goes on, technology gets better. This is normally a good thing for innovation and the end user. But if often leads to the end of things as we know it.
Another One Bites the Dust
We are at a point in time where technology is so good that it's "too easy" to make something that works really well, especially in China, and undercut the "big boys." I'm sad to hear of the passing of Bowens, just another in the growing list of major names falling.
Awhile back, Aurelius, a company that claims to specialize in "bringing back companies on the road to success" according to their website, had purchased both Bowens and Calumet. Now it seems that Bowens has gone into liquidation and will cease operations. No official statement was available at the time of this writing. As with any liquidation, this will likely leave users wondering about parts and repairs, and only time will tell in regard to how this will be handled.
The Chinese Effect
People have mixed feelings about certain gear, and I know photographers in general (including myself) are very finicky about brands, gear, and quality. As a long time Profoto user, I have never been a fan of the Chinese brands. That being said, items like the XPLOR HSS TTL are proving their worth, and it's difficult to argue how well they work. At a price point that is significantly less than Profoto, Bowens, and Broncolor, these lights are powerful, self-contained, offer TTL, and in my opinion the biggest thing, HSS. Just grab the camera and shoot at any shutter speed you want. No, you don't have Bowens or Profoto or Broncolor's quality but you can buy several of these for the cost of just one. The big brand names were playing catch up on some of these features, relying on their reputation and brand quality to carry them. Which you can only do for so long. Bowens was rumored to be developing new products to compete with Yongnuo and Godox but were just too late to the game most likely.
To many, these new brands are wonderful news, overwhelming reports of incredible reliability with super long battery life, flash power, and not having to have a battery pack dangled from your light stand make this incredible. But like with any industry, cost of operations and such can affect the profitability and therefore price to end users. Photographers are notorious for DIY and trying to save a buck anywhere we can, because hey, gear is expensive. I admit, I own XPLOR products myself and have never had one misfire or issue, they just work, and work even better than the big brand names such as the B1 from Profoto.
So it really is a double edged sword, we are currently in a great era of new tools available to us, but we can't be surprised when a longtime staple such as Bowens falls due to it as well. It's really not that different than an old-school photographer going out of business due to new and more "modern" competition at a better price. Which we have all seen happen too many times.