NAME: Alex Chen
COMPANY: Alex Global Technology
Because his name stands behind every wheel he sells, Alex Chen is a stickler for quality. And Alex Global Technology makes a lot of wheels for bicycles, cars, military trucks, buses and even airplanes.
From a beautiful campus in southern Taiwan, Alex Global is a spic and span operation that believes in a do-it-yourself mentality. Because Alex was a machine company before it entered the bicycle business in 1992, employees built the original production equipment themselves.
“My mind is always young,” Chen once told Bicycle Retailer. “Every day is creation and innovation. We enjoy that.”
In the bicycle industry, Alex is one of the largest manufacturers of aluminum bicycle rims, with significant OEM business as well as its A-Class and Alex Rims brands. But Chen decided that the bicycle industry did not offer significant growth opportunities, and he began searching for other prospects.
Now, Alex invested more than $90 million to create what news reports say is Taiwan’s first integrated production line for cold-forging aluminum.
The equipment includes Taiwan’s largest aluminum extrusion plant and a new aluminum furnace.
Alex plans to use the equipment to make forged aluminum wheels for trucks, passenger cars, military trucks and buses. The forged rims are more expensive than steel counterparts, but offer greater strength for significantly less weight, officials say.
By using advanced technologies, Alex Global believes it can stay ahead of its competitors in mainland China.
Alex Chen is a lanky, soft-spoken Ph.D. who is an avid cyclist.
One way he keeps trim for riding is by eating the same lunch every day: a modest tray of steamed rice paired with tomatoes, sweet potatoes, green peppers, beans and other vegetables.
He made enough money to start the business by investing in a toy company, of all things, that made globe-shaped puzzles.
The Alex factory resembles a college campus in many ways, with a beautiful auditorium and conference room that were built largely underground.