Bicycles Boom in Tough Economic Times

Article by Phillip Charlier

cycling along Taipei's beautiful Hsintien River, one of the routes of an expanding network of bikeways. Picture by Trista di Genova Picture by Trista di Genova

While a lot of industries are facing problems in today’s tough economy, Taiwan’s bicycle manufacturing industry is booming. High fuel costs, diminishing incomes and increasing environmental awareness are all contributing to increasing demand, and the supply side is trying to catch up.
A few years ago, it was a different story. Once the world’s leading exporter of bicycles, Taiwanese factories began to relocate to China in the mid 1990s. As strong economic growth improved wages and living conditions at home, manufacturers took advantage of China’s low labour and production costs.
Today, China is the world’s major supplier of cheap bicycles, but Taiwan’s competitive advantage is higher quality at a higher, but still economical price. Taiwan’s Giant bicycle company is expanding its production facilities in Taichung to boost its annual production from 600 000 to one million units.
Pacific Cycles based in Taoyuan County expects a 100% increase in sales despite a 66% price hike for their folding bicycles.
Domestic sales are also booming with a growing environmental consciousness and proactive government policies that are witnessing an expanding network of bicycle routes for commuter and recreational use.
Sources: AFP