The total export value of Taiwan’s bicycles fell 2 percent year-on-year to US$906.2 million during the first seven months of this year, as declining shipments to Europe and Japan offset rising average prices of products, the latest government statistics showed.
The data also indicated that demand in China has been rising lately, but developed markets such as Europe, Japan and the US are still the bread and butter for Taiwanese bicycle makers, as they account for more than 80 percent of total exports.
Statistics compiled by the Ministry of Economic Affairs show bicycle shipments to Europe decreased 6.5 percent year-on-year during the period from January to July.
Europe was still the biggest export market for Taiwan’s bicycles during the first seven months of the year, despite bad weather and slow economic recovery in some eurozone countries.
The region bought US$412.7 million — or 45.5 percent — of Taiwanese bicycles in the seven-month period, the ministry said in a statement released on Thursday.
Among the major European markets, shipments to the Netherlands dropped 5.1 percent from a year ago to US$114.4 million, while those to the UK declined 0.7 percent to US$87 million during the same period, the data showed.
The ministry’s statistics indicated the export value of Taiwanese bicycles sold to Japan also declined 10.1 percent year-on-year to US$45.9 million in the first seven months, accounting for 5.1 percent of total bicycle exports, while those to China were down slightly by 0.5 percent to US$56 million, or 6.2 percent of overall exports.
However, the value of Taiwanese bikes shipped to the US in the seven-month period rose 2.7 percent to US$220.4 million from a year earlier, accounting for 24.3 percent of total exports, supported by a steady recovery in the US economy, the ministry said.
Taiwan was a global leader in bicycle exports in the 1970s and 1980s, but a sharp New Taiwan dollar appreciation in the 1990s eroded the Taiwanese exporters’ competitiveness, and production largely relocated to China in the early 2000s.
These factors led to Taiwan’s bicycle exports plunging from a peak of 10.74 million units in 1987 to 4.06 million units last year, according to the ministry’s tallies.
In the face of rising competition from low-priced bicycles from China and Southeast Asia, local makers such as Giant Manufacturing Co (巨大機械) and Merida Industry Co (美利達) have changed their focus to higher-priced, quality bicycles as well as developing their own brands and targeting developed markets.
Statistics compiled by the Taiwan Bicycle Exporters’ Association indicate the US, the Netherlands and the UK were the top three export markets for Taiwan’s bicycles by value last year, followed by Australia, Germany and Japan.
The ministry said Taiwanese manufacturers’ efforts to focus on mid and high-end bicycles have paid off, with the average selling price of products rising steadily since 2004.
The prices also increase after many manufacturers have turned to use lighter materials, such as carbon fiber, titanium, magnesium and aluminum, rather than steel in their bikes.
During the first seven months of the year, the average selling prices of Taiwan-made bicycles for overseas sales rose 7.4 percent from a year earlier to NT$13,400 (US$442) per bike, the data showed.
In addition, a large number of bicycle companies and component makers — totaling 658 companies, upstream (raw materials/components and parts), middle stream (assembler) as well as downstream firms (distributors and retailers) — have clustered in the Greater Taichung and Changhua areas, according to the Taiwan External Trade Development Council.
As a result, their total annual production value exceeded NT$50 billion from 2011 to last year, higher than the pre-global financial crisis level in 2009, the ministry said.
In the first seven months this year, annual production value of the industry increased 7.4 percent year-on-year to NT$26.84 billion, the ministry added.
STEPPING UP: The firm has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week and to halt all but essential overseas business travel from next month Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) has implemented a remote work policy for employees not on production lines in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, the world’s largest contract chipmaker said yesterday. This is the first time in the Hsinchu-based company’s history that it has launched a large-scale remote work policy, joining global technology companies, such as Apple Inc and Google, that encourage employees to work from home. The chipmaker has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week, it said. As the number of virus infections continues to climb worldwide, TSMC has urged employees to halt unnecessary
Manufacturers are on a mission to produce desperately needed medical ventilators for the COVID-19 pandemic, even if it means converting assembly lines now making auto parts. Along with a shortage of masks and gloves, the spread of COVID-19 to almost every corner of the globe has highlighted a great need for specialized machines that help keep severely afflicted patients alive. “As the global pandemic evolves, there is unprecedented demand for medical equipment, including ventilators,” GE Healthcare chief executive officer Kieran Murphy said. The group has hired more workers and is making ventilators around the clock. Swedish group Getinge AB is also ramping up output
Facing the rapidly evolving global COVID-19 pandemic, Citibank Taiwan Ltd (台灣花旗) has proactively taken precautionary measures. “The health and safety of our colleagues and their families, as well as our clients and the communities we serve, are of the utmost importance. We continue to take proactive measures to preserve their well-being while we maintain our ability to serve our clients,” Citibank Taiwan chairman Paulus Mok (莫兆鴻) said in a statement yesterday. “We have local and regional contingency plans in place, and we have well-established business continuity plans for the firm. We are monitoring the situation closely, adjusting our operations accordingly,
GoShare, an electric scooter sharing service provider with Gogoro Inc (睿能創意), plans to expand to Tainan next quarter in a strategic alliance with Aeon Motor Co (宏佳騰). The company currently offers its services in Taipei and Taoyuan. “Tainan is very popular among tourists. The city receives an average of 22.94 million tourists every year,” GoShare head Henry Chiang (姜家煒) told a news conference yesterday in Taipei, citing Tourism Bureau statistics. “Besides, the city has a long history of riding scooters,” he said. Each household owns an average of 2.5 scooters, he added. “Expanding presence” is one of four strategies GoShare is adopting for this