TAIPEI, Taiwan – Despite the fact that compared to the same time last year the price for, for instance, aluminium dropped by about 50%, the prices for Taiwan made and exported to Europe bicycles are on the rise. This results in more and more importers in Europe complaining.
A much heard comment is that Taiwan makers are trying to compensate the drop in the number of exported bikes with higher prices. A trend confirmed by the latest statistics from the Taiwan Bicycle Exporters’ Association (TBEA).
According to TBEA data for the first five months of 2009, Taiwan exported a total of 2 million complete bikes. Although the number represented a 17.5% decline from the 2.42 million during the same period last year, export value reached US$ 570 million, or 3.8% more than that of 2008. This is due to a 25.7% hike (!) in unit prices that averaged US$ 285 per bike.
TBEA Chairman Yang Ying-ming said that the rising trend in unit prices reflected the obvious advantages of Taiwan’s bike producers in the high-end segment. Yang believed that A-Team, an industry alliance consisting of more than 30 Taiwanese manufacturers of bicycles and components, was the driving force that enabled Taiwan’s bike industry to evolve toward the high-end segment, and transformed the country into a global leader in premium bicycles.
According to Michael Tseng, president of Merida Industry Co. Ltd. who also serves as chairman of A-Team, Europe and the United States have always been the major markets for Merida’s high-end bikes. Tseng expects to see sales of the company’s premium bikes remain stable or register slight growth this year.
Global leader Giant Manufacturing Co. Ltd., also a member of the A-Team, spares no efforts in marketing its high-end bikes. The company spends about 8% of its annual revenues promoting its premium bikes and building its brand image by sponsoring professional bicycle racing teams in international tournaments like the Tour the France which is taking place now.
Other statistics from TBEA, however, revealed that so far this year, exports and imports of bicycle components dropped 11.4% and 14.9%, respectively, indicating a declining trend in the country’s bike industry.