TAIPEI, Taiwan (BRAIN) — As the Taipei Cycle Show got underway this week, the state of the industry in Taiwan was explored further during the opening ceremony and ribbon cutting in Taipei. Industry leaders from TAITRA and the Taiwan Bicycle Exporters Association shared year-end 2013 statistics and insights into 2014 with the media and others early in the show.
In 2013, Taiwan exported 3.83 million bicycles, and export to several markets grew significantly. Exports to China reached 250,000 units with a total value of $85 million, a growth of 165 and 87 percent respectively over 2012.
Part of this growth was due to the passage of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement signed between Taiwan and China to gradually reduce tariffs from 13 percent to zero in 2012. Rapidly growing economies, an emerging middle class with increasing spending power and more interest in cycling for leisure in southeast Asia played a role in rising exports to countries like Thailand, which grew 68 percent in volume and nearly 83 percent in total value in 2013 compared to the previous year. Unit sales reached 39,000 valued at $14.69 million.
Exports to New Zealand also rose nearly 45 percent in 2013, from $16 million to about $23 million. That growth can in part be attributed to an agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Cooperation to lift tariffs on bicycles, which went into effect December 1, 2013. In anticipation of the tariff being eliminated, bike exports to New Zealand began to increase before the agreement was signed.
But despite growth in export volume to some emerging markets, totals exports of complete bicycles worldwide fell 11.5 percent in 2013. But their value increased, from $1 billion in 2012 to $1.7 billion in 2013. The average unit price increased nearly 8 percent from $417.96 in 2012 to $450 in 2013.
By region, the European Union remained the top importer of complete bicycles from Taiwan last year, accounting for 51 percent of total export volume, or 1.9 million units, and nearly 40 percent of total export value at $73 million. Still, that's down compared with 2012. Exports to the EU were down 21 percent in units and 15 percent in dollars in 2013. The U.S., Canada and Mexico accounted for 19 percent of Taiwan's total exports, coming in at 736,000 units valued at $466 million.
Taiwan's strategy to focus on high-end markets has carried the country's bicycle industry through economic downturns in major export markets. As cycling continues to grow on a global scale, the Taiwanese industry will strive to keep its role as the leading supplier of high-end bicycles worldwide while meeting the demands of new market segments via innovative design and the development of accessories. Taiwan will also continue to focus on emerging markets like China and the countries of southeast Asia.