SHENZHEN, China (BRAIN)—Twenty-five years and more than three million folding bicycles later, Dahon's founder David Hon is just getting started.
“We have contributed a great deal to the bicycle market, to the bicycle, and even to the economy,” Hon said last night at a celebration honoring Dahon’s 25th anniversary. One of the door prizes at the dinner was the bike that started it all: the Hon, a stainless steel, orange-and-chrome folder.
Joining Hon at the dinner was his wife, Florence. and his son, Josh, the company's vice president of sales and marketing.
Hon founded the company in 1982 after a career as a physicist (Dahon’s Taiwan factory opened in 1983). But he said a former classmate from Hong Kong—now a well-known Buddhist monk—reminded him at a class reunion that he had been talking about “folding up the bicycle” since he was in high school.
Now based in Shenzhen, China, Dahon sold 348,000 bikes in 2007 and is on track for a sixth consecutive year of sales growth exceeding 20 percent, he said.
Folding bikes in general—some of them based illegally on Dahon patents—account for 20 percent of all bikes sold in China, more than 30 percent in Korea, and 7 percent in Japan, Hon said.
At the Taipei show starting Thursday, Dahon will unveil a new bike featuring a magnesium frame. Hon said he and his supplier have solved magnesium’s biggest problems and expects the material to become a bigger part of the Dahon line.
“It’s basically rust-proof,” Hon said. “The biggest problem for magnesium is over. It’s done.”
Hon said the company also is branching into electric bicycles and solar energy projects.
CAPTION: Dahon founder David Hon gave away one of the original Hon folding bikes last night at a dinner in Shenzhen, China, celebrating its 25th anniversary. (Photo by Doug McClellan)