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Taiwan 2012: Focusing Strongly on Emerging Markets

Sales & Trends

TAIPEI, Taiwan – The island’s bicycle industry is facing new challenges in overseas markets. Exports to Europe (by volume) declined again in 2012. Anthony Lo, president of the Bicycle Exporters’ Association (TBEA) recently warned their bike exports might be impacted by several Asian nations which formed a non-tariff bike supply chain.

Taiwan 2012: Focusing Strongly on Emerging Markets

According to the TBEA, Taiwan’s bicycle export to Europe was estimated to decline 9.6% in volume for 2011. The outlook for 2013 shows the same figures, urging Taiwan’s bike manufacturers to be cautious and to work together to overcome possible impacts. In fact TBEA statistics show that Taiwan exports an average of 4.2 million bicycles to Europe yearly at import tariff rate of 14.7%. Nearby Southeast Asian nations, such as Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh ship bikes to Europe against zero duties.

In 2012, approximately 800,000 bicycles have been exported to Europe from these non-tariff nations, and the number is expected to increase and encroach on Taiwan’s share. Nevertheless, Europe is still a major business partner for Taiwan. The value of bicycle exports between January and October 2012 amounted to €487,199,304 million, up 6.7% related to the same period in 2011.

The Taiwanese also saw their exports grow in several other countries in the Pacific Rim. For example the bicycle business with Japan went up no less than 18%, from €64 million between January and October 2011, to more than €75 million in the same period last year. Other important contributors to Taiwan’s export growth outside Europe were Malaysia (+76%), Colombia (+87%), South Africa (+49%), United Arabic Emirates (+ 78%) and El Salvador (+102%). With a growth rate of 2.6% in value the US market was pretty stable in 2012. The total market value between January and October amounted €249 million.

Cross-straits bicycle business
More important were the emerging markets and China in particular. “Our future lies in China and one of our goals is to develop this rapidly expanding market,” said Anthony Lo on earlier occasions. Between January and October 2013, the cross-straits bicycle business grew by 300% to 90,000 units with a total value of €26 million.

In 2012 the total value of this business amounted to only €7.5 million. This trend is expected to continue in 2013. In line with the trend of the past years, Taiwan’s overall bicycle export declined again, by 2% in volume, while the value increased by 7.6%. The average selling price of exported bikes amounted €340. For bicycle parts and components the market is much more positive, as exports expanded by 18% in value. The overall market for bicycles and parts rose by 10% in 2012.

The bicycle industry saw a positive start of the year in January and February 2012. At that time export value increased by double digits. February even saw record growth of 20% according to the statistics of the Taiwan Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT). Traditionally the best month of the years, March, proved to be a big disappointment, as export dropped by 15% from €125 million to €105 million. April also saw a decline of nearly 6%, while the market picked up again after that.

Top-20 Bicycle Export Market Taiwan**
Country 2011* 2012* Growth 2012* Growth
in units in units rate in units rate
United States 544,511 585,66 7,60% 249 + 2.5 %
UK 581,317 499,621 -14% 95 – 3.9 %
Netherlands 430,857 454,734 5,50% 154 + 31.8 %
Germany 336,045 313,308 -6,70% 76 1%
Japan 214,747 254,291 18,10% 75 +17.9 %
Spain 155,155 148,785 -4,10% 30 + 4.7 %
Sweden 149,462 134,321 -10,10% 17 – 3.3 %
Belgium 140,478 117,499 -16,40% 43 – 8.7 %
Australia 99,668 97,985 -1,70% 50 + 2.9 %
Denmark 97,692 92,323 -5,50% 17 – 3.3 %
Poland 77,883 75,128 -3,50% 10 0,70%
Norway 74,131 72,422 -2,30% 28 – 9.6 %
Canada 68,302 71,954 5,30% 32 + 4.7 %
China 18,151 71,552 294% 26 + 245.9 %
Korea 47,889 55,793 16,50% 23 + 3.6 %
Italy 46,003 45,89 -0,20% 15 + 1.7 %
Finland 44,663 29,679 -33,50% 4 – 30.3 %
Switzerland 36,173 25,779 -28,70% 21 – 22.7 %
Russia 12,344 25,332 105,20% 5 84%
Portugal 28,318 24,013 -15,20% 3 – 0.5 %
Total export 3,539,485 3,527,589 -0,30% 1,079 + 7.6 %
* Between January – October
** Source BOFT
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