TAIPEI, Taiwan (BRAIN)—What should have been a moment of celebration for Taiwanese suppliers was tempered by unfolding events in Japan as Tony Lo, chairman of the Taiwan Bicycle Exporters Association, announced record growth for the island nation’s industry. (For more daily coverage from the Taipei Cycle Show, click on the PDF by clicking on the title and then "Visit Link").
Lo called last year’s performance “stunning” as the industry recovered from the financial meltdown that plagued global markets from December 2008 through 2009. In a nutshell, exports of complete bikes rose 17.9 percent to 5.1 million units with revenues topping $1.5 billion—20.3 percent higher than 2009.
While overall growth set new records, the average wholesale price on complete bicycles increased a more modest 2 percent from $291 per bike to $296. Still, as Lo pointed out, the decision by Taiwan suppliers almost a decade ago to pursue the world’s high-end market has paid off.
“Though more and more consumers are opting for reasonably-priced products, Taiwanese bike companies are coming out ahead by targeting specialized markets that appeal to individual tastes,” said Lo, who is also Giant’s CEO.
Also driving Taiwan’s industry were record revenues for bicycle parts, which grew at an “amazing” rate of 28.8 percent to $660 million over 2009, Lo said. The combined value of bicycle and parts exports hit $2.2 billion, up 22.7 percent over the prior year.
While the U.S. economy struggled through 2010, it still ranked as Taiwan’s single most important country for exports with U.S. retailers selling 21.2 percent of Taiwan’s production. Canada also made the top 10 ranking, selling 2.5 percent of Taiwan’s exports. However, the European Union and other nations in Europe remain Taiwan’s biggest overall market.
“Even in a time when the global economy is still on a rough path, Taiwan can claim to be on the winning road to success,” Lo said.