Fri, May 25, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Bicycle industry expects rise in value of exports

ELECTRIC SUPPORT:The volume of exports fell last year, but that was more than compensated by a rise in prices, making for overall export growth

By Kuo Chia-erh  /  Staff reporter

The outlook is bright for the nation’s bicycle exports this year, Taiwan Bicycle Association chairman Michael Tseng (曾崧柱) said yesterday, citing increasing penetration of electric models in major markets.

The volume of bike exports might decrease from last year’s, but the higher average prices of electric models and other high-end products should see the industry’s total export value grow this year, Tseng told a news conference for the Taipei International Cycle Show to be held in fall.

“The global bicycle market is going through a transition period,” Tseng said, referring to a significant shift in customer demand to electric bicycles.

VOLUME GROWTH

In the first four months of the year, the nation’s electric bike exports jumped 55.51 percent year-on-year to US$113 million, from US$73 million, with outbound shipments growing 34.35 percent to 82,900 units.

From January to last month, exports of nonelectric bicycles totaled US$435 million, a 14.16 percent increase from NT$381 million in the same period last year, even though overseas shipments declined 11.75 percent to 740,000 units.

Over the period, the average price of non-electric bicycles sold by Taiwanese suppliers rose to a record high of US$588.33, from US$454.82 a year earlier, supported by growing revenue from high-end products.

However, the association is relatively conservative about the prospects for the Chinese market this year, as the rapid decline of the bike-sharing industry in the country is likely to affect Taiwanese makers, including Giant Manufacturing Co Ltd (巨大機械) and Merida Industry Co (美利達).

The slowing growth of orders from bicycle-sharing companies was already reflected in net profit declines at the two local firms last year.

“The supply-demand dynamics in China’s bicycle industry are expected to return to normal next year, as the bike-sharing boom is likely a short-term phenomenon,” Tseng told the Taipei Times.

MERIDA

Tseng also serves as chairman and president of Changhua County-based Merida, the nation’s second-largest bike maker, which is capable of manufacturing more than 200,000 electric bikes per year.

He said that he is upbeat about Merida’s sales for the coming quarters, as customer demand for the company’s high-end models continues to grow.

Apart from high-priced electric mountain bikes, Merida plans to launch new electric commuter bikes to broaden its customer case, Tseng said without elaborating.

Electric bikes contributed about 25 percent to Merida’s total revenue last quarter, company data showed.

The association and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA, 外貿協會) are organizing this year’s Taipei International Cycle Show, which is to run from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3 at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center.

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