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As the Bicycles Made in Taiwan Dominate the World, the Demand for Road Bikes Grows Steadily
Date published 2020-04-21

As healthy leisure pursuits and environmental awareness rise, the global bicycle industry continues to expand with a growing trend towards the mid-to-high-end range. Bicycle manufacturing has long been Taiwan's standout industry and has earned the country the name, "The Bicycle Kingdom." Nearly 70% of the global mid-to-high-end bicycle demand is fulfilled by Taiwan each year. Every year, Taiwan exports more than two million traditional bicycles globally. Road bike exports have comprised a stable 20-30% in the past few years, while mountain bikes now take up 60% of the exports to the US as mainstream demand is on the rise.

In contrast, due to the increasing popularity of various high-profile cycling events and of leisure riding recently, the demand for road bikes in the European market is almost equivalent to that of mountain bikes, and the Asian market also shows a similar rising trend year by year.

Presently, there are no global statistics for business opportunities in any individual bicycle category market. However, the Vehicle Association's Data suggests that the total output value of bicycles and bicycle components in 2019 reached NT$137.2 billion. Taiwan's annual output value of globally exported road bikes can thus be assumed to have reached NT$50 billion based on the fact that Taiwan is able to meet 70% of the global mid-to-high-end bicycle demand.

Giant and Merida, the two major bicycle companies in Taiwan, have become leading brands in the world, and their road bikes are often selected by professional cyclists and their teams for competitions. Take Giant, for example, it became the CCC team's new partner last year. It supported the professional male team with the latest TCR, Defy and Propel road bikes and Trinity Time Trial Bikes for competition and training. Their professional female team opted for Liv Langma and the brand new EnviLiv aerodynamic road bikes as their racing bikes.

Merida has initiated a co-title sponsorship in the domestic industry since 2013 and has begun to sponsor the World Tour's leading professional team: Team Lampre Merida. Following the same template, it participated in the establishment of the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM in 2017. With a new joint venture partner, the team will adopt the name of Team Bahrain McLaren for this year's competition with three models of Merida's racing bikes being featured: SCULTURA, REACTO, and TIME WARP TT.

Besides the two leading brands, other Taiwanese companies such as Advanced Group, Darad Innovation Corporation, and O-TA also hold prominent places in the road bike industry. DIZO, the brand of Advanced Group, derives its name from the Chinese homophony "customized," indicating that its products are made in Taiwan and tailored to customers needs, featuring unique and bespoke designs. DIZO has sponsored the Linyuan Senior High School cycling team in Taiwan for many years. In 2016, it launched the limited edition Hero Series co-branded with Marvel as the world's first carbon fiber road bikes featuring the hero concept.

Although O-TA and Darad Innovation joined the industry later, they still have been able to quickly make their mark with VOLANDO and BESV bikes by leveraging the groups' inherent competitive advantages based on high-end golf heads and electronic control system development. Also, the road bikes, specifically electric road bikes, from both companies have won the coveted Taiwan Excellence Award.

Taiwan's reputation as "The Bicycle Kingdom" is not merely based on the bikes themselves as our component manufacturers are also internationally revered. For example, Kenda Tire has been chosen by many globally renowned brands, and has also sponsored many international sports events since 1994. Its K1160X stab-resistant tires are specially designed for high-end road bikes.

TBS Group Corporation may be a young bicycle products brand, but its "AROFLY Ultra Smart Bike Meter Solution" is the smallest bicycle power meter in the world. This "All-In-One Full Function Meter" can accurately gauge the cyclist's performance. It is not only cheap and easy to install, but it is also compatible with nearly 100% of models. Therefore, it has received plaudits and considerable attention within the market in recent years.

Taiwan's bicycle industry has attained a rock-solid, leading position in the world, but to continue to fend off the broad market competition, innovative brand and product marketing strategies are still essential in support of continuous product improvement. Therefore, in addition to the increased visibility garnered by individual companies' sponsorships of various sporting events, the Bureau of Foreign Trade appointed the Taiwan External Trade Development Council to manage the "Taiwan Industry Image Enhancement Project," which has supported the "Tour de Taiwan" road bike race in the name of "Taiwan Excellence" for nine consecutive years since 2012. As the competition attracts elite cyclists from more than 30 countries around the world, it will only help to enhance the already shining international image of Taiwan's bicycle industry.

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