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A-Team Profile — Michael Tseng

Published May 5, 2008

NAME: Michael Tseng
COMPANY: Merida
TITLE: Deputy Chairman
AGE: 51

Michael Tseng and Tony Lo are congenial co-hosts of A-Team meetings, but their companies are tough competitors. And while Tseng’s Merida may not match the production volume of Giant, it has surpassed its rival—and just about every other major Taiwan manufacturer—when it comes to the average value of the bicycles it makes.

Tseng, 51, is the second generation of his family to run Merida. His father, Ike Tseng, founded Merida in 1972 with 57 employees and was an industry pioneer in many ways.

Merida, for example, was the first company to go public and one of the first to open a factory in Mainland China with its Shenzhen factory in 1990.

Michael Tseng was in high school when he started working at the factory. After completing compulsory military service, he gave up dreams of pursuing an MBA degree overseas so he could help his father.

Last year, Tseng oversaw a project that some thought was crazy. He spent $7 million to gut and rebuild Merida’s 35-year-old factory in Taichung without halting production. Tseng calls it his “dream factory.” It is more productive and profitable than before, he said.

In April, Merida opened a second factory in Shandong Province in northern China. The $10 million plant will make e-bikes for the domestic market.

The Merida brand is well known in Europe, but unfamiliar in the United States. But most U.S. cyclists have heard of Specialized. Merida is Specialized’s manufacturing partner and has owned a financial stake in Specialized for several years.

Tseng and his wife of 24 years, Amy, have three children: a 23-year-old son and two daughters, 20 and 9. When he isn’t cycling, Tseng enjoys cooking and golfing.

—Doug McClellan

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