TAIPEI, Taiwan (BRAIN)—Two weeks into his new role as president of Ideal Bike Corporation, Hermes Chang is making his formal entry into the bicycle industry at the Taipei Cycle Show.
Chang is the second son of Pen-Tsao Chang, Ideal founder and chairman. “We were pleased to witness my son Hermes start to take over the business from me,” Pen-Tsao Chang wrote in a letter to Ideal’s customers and vendors.
Chang, 34, has a MBA from Washington University St. Louis, and spent three years working in the United States after earning his degree. His primary background is in finance, including private equity. Since his father asked him to return to the family business a year and a half ago, he has worked for a family-owned fiberglass company.
“Hermes brings something very important right now, which is an understanding of financial markets and capital and how to finance this business,” said Pat Cunnane, president of Advanced Sports, Inc. Ideal has a minority stake in ASI, which markets and distributes Fuji, Kestrel, SE Racing and Breezer brand bicycles.
Cunnane said Ideal has room for improvement, which is why the board has brought on new management with a clear vision.
“We are doing well, but not compared to Merida and Giant,” Chang said, adding that the two other major Taiwanese manufacturers have a different strategy because they sell their own branded bicycles. Last year, he said, his competitors’ sales were boosted by strong domestic sales of branded bicycles.
“Our strategy is very simple: Ideal is just a manufacturer. Giant and Merida identify themselves as branding companies. Ideal identifies our self as an original design manufacturer. Ideal focuses more on product development and quality improvement to create more value to our customer.”
Louis Chan, former president, has been assigned as Ideal’s chief strategic officer in charge of company alliance strategies and long-term planning. In addition, Chan will take on the responsibilities of president of ASI-Asia.
“I am eager to get involved more aggressively in ASI-Asia’s operations,” Chan said. “I was responsible for creating the joint venture company with Advanced Sports, Inc. in 2004 and have consistently been directing the company as the representative of major shareholders. I have enjoyed guiding the operations of ASI-Asia over the past few years. I look forward to getting more involved with the operations and bringing the Fuji, SE Racing, Kestrel and Breezer brands to higher level of success.”
Cunnane said ASI sales in Asia are growing and have room for continued expansion. Sales of its brands in Taiwan alone increased from $2 million to $7 million last year.
“ASI-Asia has had three years of very strong growth under Louis’ stewardship—I know ASI-Asia will benefit from Louis’ strong skills and relationship with Ideal,” Cunnane said. “Louis will also be able to help us expand the sales of our other three brands—SE Racing, Kestrel and Breezer.”
Jacky Huang, former general manager of ASI-Asia, has resigned and taken the position of general manager at A.P.E., the Taiwan-based trading company related to Specialized. Huang will remain available for ASI-Asia through a transition expected to be completed by the end of March.