Thu, Mar 19, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Bicycle export value to rise: association

CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC:Giant CEO Anthony Lo said firms need to closely watch foreign currency volatility, despite robust overseas demand for high-end products

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Giant Manufacturing Co CEO Antony Lo yesterday introduces the company’s “UR Bike” with the slogan “From YouBike to Your Bike” on the opening day of the Taipei International Cycle Show at the Taipei World Trade Center. The expo runs through Saturday.

Photo: Yang Ya-min, Taipei Times

The export value and the average selling price of bicycles and bicycle parts made in Taiwan are expected to increase this year from last year, thanks to growing international demand for the nation’s high-end products and the US economy’s recovery, the Taiwan Bicycle Exporters’ Association said yesterday.

“Last year was a pretty good year for the nation’s bike industry, with annual exports of bicycles and bicycle parts rising 4.8 percent to US$2.82 billion,” association chairman and Giant Manufacturing Co (巨大機械) CEO Anthony Lo (羅祥安) told reporters on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the annual Taipei International Cycle Show.

Lo said the export value of bicycles totaled US$1.721 billion last year, slightly down from the previous year’s US$1.725 billion.

The annual export volume of Taiwan’s bicycles also dropped 2 percent last year to 3.75 million bicycles from 3.83 million units in 2013, the association said.

The decrease in export volume was mainly due to the impact of the economic downturn in certain countries, with consumers more reluctant to purchase new bikes, the association said.

Despite the falling shipment value and volume of bicycles, Lo said the average selling price of bicycles increased 1.85 percent to US$458.99 per unit last year from US$450.64 per unit in 2013.

Lo said this suggested that demand for Taiwan’s high-end bicycles has increased, adding that he expects prices to continue to increase this year on the back of strong demand and the improving US economy. He declined to offer an estimate.

Giant, the nation’s largest bicycle maker, saw sales grow 10.86 percent last year to NT$60.22 billion from 2013, and it is targeting to grow sales another 5 to 10 percent this year. Total shipments reached 6.6 million units last year, according to the company.

Shares in Giant rose 5.12 percent to NT$297.5 yesterday in Taipei trading, outperforming the broader market’s 1.19 percent rise.

Overall, Lo is cautiously optimistic about the export outlook for bicycles and bicycle parts from the nation this year, which saw export value for the first two months of this year rise 9.21 percent to US$317.34 million from last year’s US$290.57 million.

However, he declined to offer an annual growth estimate for this year, saying that it is hard to tell, because unpredictable weather conditions and foreign exchange fluctuations can influence the industry’s export performance.

“Taiwanese bicycle makers should closely monitor foreign currency volatility this year,” Lo told the Taipei Times.

The depreciation of the euro against the US dollar might have a negative impact on shipments of Taiwanese bicycles, he said.

“If European countries’ import costs increase due to currency volatility, they might choose to import mid-priced bicycles from other countries instead of Taiwan’s high-end bicycles, which would impact our export performance and average selling price,” Lo said.

Last year, the EU remained Taiwan’s largest export destination for bicycles, with 2.08 million bikes, or 55.44 percent of total export volume, the association’s data showed.

The international cycling show is to run through Saturday at the Taipei World Trade Center Nangang Exhibition Hall and the second floor of the Taipei World Trade Center’s Exhibition Hall 1 and 3.

More than 1,400 domestic and foreign businesses are participating in the event, which features bicycles, parts and accessories, as well as light electric vehicles and relevant components, the event’s organizer, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (外貿協會), said.

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