TAICHUNG, Taiwan (BRAIN) — In 1980, BETO founder Lopin Wang moved from Taipei, Taiwan, to San Jose, Calif., where he worked for four years in a factory that supplied parts to Apple and Atari. It was the early days of Silicon Valley, and Wang said the experience shaped him during his formative years in product development.
“Those years were very important for me,” said Wang. “I learned a lot about technology and manufacturing, which helped me greatly when I started my own company.”
Wang, a business school graduate, started BETO in 1989 in Taichung with his wife. BETO, which stands for “BE The Original,” is one of the largest accessories manufacturers in Taiwan.
Three of BETO’s four factories are located in China, and its high-end factory is just outside of Taichung. Its corporate headquarters is also in Taichung.
More than 1,400 employees keep BETO’s factories running to turn out more than 8 million hand and floor pumps and 500,000 multitools a year. Additionally, BETO makes water bottles and cages, mirrors, magnetic trainers, child bike and car seats, exercise equipment for Bowflex and is the largest manufacturer of inversion tables—BETO’s highest-dollar item—in the world.
Among BETO’s many OE customers are Specialized, Trek, Cannondale, Scott, Giant, Blackburn, Park Tool and Serfas. BETO has also manufactured pedals, multitools and pumps for Crankbrothers in its high-end factory in Taichung. Some of Wang’s customers have been with BETO since he started the company, and he places a high value on relationships with his customers.
Which is also why BETO doesn’t promote its own house-branded bicycle pump in the U.S. The company sells its own pumps mostly in China and Southeast Asia, but those sales are not a priority. “We have a good relationship with all of our customers,” said Wang. “They are like friends too, and it wouldn’t be good etiquette to promote our own brand in the States. Our key focus is to keep our factory running smoothly and our customers in steady supply.”
BETO’s annual revenue is about $80 million, making it one of the largest accessories manufacturers in Taiwan. The company specializes in injection molding and CNC machining, all of which it can do under one roof. “Our company is also different from most because we are involved in many different products,” said Wang.
Wang said that as he gets older he spends more of his time in product development. “I’m 60 years old now,” he said. “I’m an old man, so I try to stay away from the business side of the company, the numbers and all that. I’d rather design and improve our products instead.
“I’m lucky to have lots of engineers to help me execute my ideas, I’m not a trained engineer you know,” Wang added. “But I would say it’s common-sense-based engineering, what we do here. It’s not rocket science, but we are always trying to improve our products, structurally and cosmetically. It takes a lot of people to make that happen.”