SHANGHAI, China – Electric bicycles will again be THE big trend at the 2011 Taipei Cycle. In the country where it all started, China, e-bikes have been developing at an unprecedented speed due to expanding urbanization, longer travel distance and increasing salary.
Annual production of electric bicycles in China has grown from 58,000 in 1998 to 27 million in 2010. According to National Statistics Bureau, in 2006, China has 450 million bicycles and in 2009, China has over 100 million ebikes.
Besides commuters and elderly people, students especially high schools students are becoming an important consumer group of e-bikes. Style is more important for them than price. With more options available in the market, Chinese consumers are making wiser buying decisions. They no longer see price as the most influential factor. Instead, they are willing to pay more for better performance, style, quality and service, which drives e-bike prices and quality.
When it comes to export, starting from January of 2010, both bicycles as well as electric bikes started to see a big recovery. Bicycle export reached 55 million units in 2010 with export to the USA totaling 15.68 million units and to Japan 6.24 million. E-bike export from January to August 2010 reached 580,000 units and the total export number for the whole of 2010 is estimated at 700,000 units; up 79.5% on the 2009 figure when the e-bike export totaled 390,000 units.
These export numbers from China reflect complete electric bikes. The parts that are shipped from China and built into bikes at EU factories do not appear in this data. But most of the components, including frames, do come from China.
Accounting for 70% of China’s e-bike export, Europe has been the most important export market for Chinese manufacturers. 60% of the e-bikes in EU market today come from China. And not all of them are low-end e-bikes equipped with speed sensor for supermarkets and sports chain stores. Bike manufacturers like JD components and Wettsen are very successful producing high-end e-bikes and providing technical support for renowned EU brands. Component manufacturers like Bafang motor and Kingmeter display are not only exporting through Chinese OEMs but directly by themselves. In 2010, Bafang exported 400,000 hub motors to Europe.