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Product Managers Trekking to Taichung

Published November 30, 2008

TAICHUNG, Taiwan (BRAIN)—The December mini-shows in Taichung are expected to attract more product managers than ever before, organizers say.

For most product managers, Taichung will offer the first opportunity to view 2010 model year products and pricing indications, said Erik Kimble, general manager of Colmax and the organizer of First In Performance, one of the mini-shows.

“This notion has now jelled in their minds that this is where they are going to meet all of their domestic and foreign product vendors for the upcoming product year,” Kimble said. “For strictly OE business, this time and these events now are more important than the Taipei show.”

Mini-show organizers settled on the second week of December for their events instead of the previously reported timing of the first week in December. One organizer said the original schedule created problems for U.S. attendees because it was too close to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Product managers heading for Taichung will again have to deal with some confusion. Despite attempts by Taichung city officials to encourage mini-show organizers to work together, organizers this year are largely working independently, so there is no central place to find out who is exhibiting where.

Steve Fenton of Pro-Lite, who lives in Taichung and is organizing Taichung Bike Week, said he was recently at a loss when a major trading company called him for some basic information.

“They were saying, ‘Can you give us a list of the companies that will exhibit in Taichung?’ and I said, ‘I don’t have a clue. I don’t honestly know,’” said Fenton, who favors a centrally organized event.

The Landis Hotel is the unofficial headquarters of the mini-shows. Exhibitors who are unable to get into the Landis typically set up shop at the nearby Evergreen Hotel.

As the granddaddy of the mini-shows, SRAM sets the timing for the rest of the events with its “Taiwanathon” product introduction. It’s scheduled for Dec. 7-12.

Ride On Taiwan, the other big event, is returning to the Freshfields Hotel in the foothills outside of Taichung, from Dec. 6-10.

Ride On combines product presentations with test rides. Participating companies will include Crankbrothers, Fizik, Fox, FSA, Hayes, Hutchinson, Magura, Manitou, Mavic, Sun Ringlé and Vittoria.

Taichung Bike Week, on Dec. 7-12, is scheduled to include Alienation, Cinelli, Freedom, Pro-Lite, Prologo, WTB and Xpedo.

Surf-On events, Dec. 7-12, will include Selle Italia, Selle San Marco, Vittoria, Wippermann, 3T and Kore.

Under the umbrella of First in Performance, scheduled for Dec. 8-11, will be Campagnolo, Continental, Fulcrum, Marzocchi, Deda, Sella Italia and SKS.

Kimble said the number of visitors to Taichung could rise by as much as 10 percent this year, due to the strong year for the bicycle industry.

“For smaller brands and for other product managers that may have not come before, now it’s much more crucial for them to come,” he said.

—Doug McClellan

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