TAICHUNG, Taiwan (BRAIN) — Taiwan’s manufacturing hub transforms into an industry show and tell session this week as product managers and sales teams merge in Taichung to talk about 2014 product and beyond.
Two events, Taichung Bike Week and Ride On, will pull in about 4,000 people to four downtown hotels between today and Friday as product managers meet with suppliers to make final decision on 2014 spec and start talking about model year 2015.
A total of 258 brands are set up in hotel rooms and ballrooms in the Evergreen, Tempus and Splendor hotels along Taichung’s busy Port Road, a main thoroughfare buzzing with scooters, pedestrians and cars. Ride On, a smaller group of 15 brands, is located at the nearby Hotel One.
Bike Week has always drawn industry product managers, buyers, designers, owners and OEM sales reps from mainstream markets in North America, Asia and Europe, but it is becoming more global, said organizer Katerina Rejchrtova, noting visitors from Brazil, Mexico, Eastern Europe, Singapore, Malaysia and even Oman.
“I think people are realizing if they want to see the newest trends, they need to come here,” Rejchrtova said, standing outside the booth of her employer Pro-Lite, on Tuesday morning in Taichung.
The low-key week has become pivotal for the industry, and many use the time in Taichung to also visit factory partners or local distributors. And although many product managers from major North American brands have already finalized spec decision for next year by now, they all come to Bike Week anyway prepared to make last minute changes if something new catches their eye.
That possibility makes the $1,500 Praxis’ Adam Haverstock paid for a booth at the Splendor Hotel for the week well worth it. Late Tuesday, a product manager from a top brand frustrated with his current supplier paid Haverstock an unscheduled visit to see Praxis’ forged chainrings, a meeting Haverstock was hopeful would turn into an order.
“That’s a victory for a small company. It’s like the unknown 5th man on the bench in the NBA being told ‘you’re in,’” he said. Haverstock was showing the company’s new selection of Turn carbon fiber and aluminum hollow forged road and mountain crank arms. The brand was a skunkworks project for owner Dragontech that turned into a vehicle to promote the Praxis chainrings, and now Praxis is selling the rings, bottom bracket and crank as a set to OEMs.
Haverstock and other exhibitors at the Splendor were pleased this year that traffic was steadier than in the past when the hotel was mostly overflow for obscure brands from the crowded Evergreen and Tempus. This year, Splendor is hosting 75 brands, including SR Suntour, which moved from the Evergreen and is a big draw for OEMs.
The additional brands, which are all set up in a large ballroom instead of individual hotel rooms, gives more people a reason to make the 10-minute trek from the main two hotels, said Thomson’s David Parrett, who was set up at a small table showing the U.S. brand’s new selection of road, mountain and ‘cross bars and the new dropper seatpost.
Taichung Bike Week falls for the first time before the Thanksgiving holiday this year.