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Growing Dumping Worries Trigger Trade ‘Creativity’ Among E-Bike Exporters in China

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TAIPEI, Taiwan – Will a major move of the e-bike production out of China come in the next months? That question was widely discussed at the last month held Taipei Cycle Show. This was caused by the fact that finally the dumping message has sunk in among Chinese e-bike producers and exporters. It is drastically changing their attitude towards the anti-dumping issue. There was first indifference; now there’s outright panic.

Growing Dumping Worries Trigger Trade ‘Creativity’ Among E-Bike Exporters in China
It was not business as usual at Taipei Cycle 2018. – Photos Bike Europe

That panic has all to do with the fact that e-bike exporters in China are arriving at the conclusion that high dumping duties are coming. And even within two months as by next January 20 the European Commission is required to make its decision known in the dumping case which was initiated by the European Bicycle Manufacturers’ Association (EBMA). By that date the European Commission must also announce its verdict resulting from its investigation into illegal subsidy schemes presented by the Chinese government to the country’s e-bike exporters. This investigation is running parallel to the one on e-bike dumping.

Creative ‘solutions’

That high dumping duties are very likely to come is triggering e-bike producers and exporters in China to search for creative ‘solutions’ to their problems. In particular as these extra duties will effectively kill their margins which were already thin and for a part consisted of the 10% export subsidy paid by the Chinese government, as sources indicate. It appeared at Taipei Cycle that Chinese manufacturers want to try to avoid the high dumping duties on the e-bikes they export to Europe by shipping them on a completely or semi-knockdown basis. The exporting companies do not seem to realize that by operating like that they are violating European regulations, which can lead to heavy fines.

Market conditions

Despite the dumping proceedings in the EU as well as the U.S. Trump Tariffs there was also optimism at the Cycle Show in Taipei. Against a background of market conditions showing no growth in volume but the opposite in terms of money, that positiveness is thanked to high priced e-MTBs which are growing in popularity. This is indicated by the nine months trading update of Shimano as well as by the latest market reports for Europe’s Nordic countries as well as Germany. Europe’s bike business went satisfactorily thanks to a long, sunny and warm summer. And Taiwan, as Europe’s biggest bicycle supplier for decades, is benefitting from this new trend too. What is becoming increasingly clear is that electric bicycles are turning out to be the big money-maker for Taiwan’s bike industry. At least, it is for the 2nd biggest maker of the country, Merida. The company saw its revenue from Taiwanese operations grow by 33 percent with (e-bike) shipments up by 27 percent during the first three quarters of this year. It is forecasted that Merida’s e-bike shipments is to increase to between 145,000 and 155,000 units this year, from 93,300 units last year.

Taiwan’s export again growing

The rapidly growing relevance of electric bikes for the Taiwanese industry is underlined by the country’s export figures for the first nine months of 2018. They show that Taiwan’s e-bike export soared in volume and in value. Export volume upped by 48 percent and reached nearly 200,000 units. Money-wise Taiwan electric bicycle export grew with 52 percent to USD 269 million. With that the average unit value of an exported e-bike stood at a big USD 1,378.

According to Taiwan’s customs and the Ministry of Finance, for January through September 2018, Taiwan’s complete bicycle export reached 1.65 million units which was valued at USD 1.09 billion. Export value rose 14.2 percent compared to the same period in 2017 while the export volume fell by 6.9 percent. Here the impact of the big growth in e-bike export is felt. The same happened at the average unit value which leaped above the USD 600 mark for the first time in Taiwan’s export history. The average export value per bike stood at USD 658.83 increasing by a big 22.7 percent and indicating that with e-bikes Taiwan has found a way to get its bicycle export growing again.

1,150 exhibitors

The 2018 Taipei International Cycle Show featured 1,150 exhibitors from 37 countries which displayed their newest products on a floor space of some 65,000 square meters. Despite the fact that Taipei Cycle has announced to turn back to its original schedule in March next year, this year’s trade show was held on a scale as the industry is used to. There were even new pavilions added; ones for the joint display of German and Korean companies. Next to them there were pavilions for EU companies as well as for Japan and Italy and the Light Electric Vehicle pavilion. However, what was also striking on the show floor were several ‘Visitor Lounges’ as well as a big ‘Taiwan Excellence’ booth; never before seen at Taipei Cycle.

More motor suppliers

Several new suppliers of (mid) motors for e-bikes presented themselves at this year’s Taipei Cycle. Companies like Vinka (from Japan), Hycore (from Korea) and Shengyi (from China) launched their e-bike systems which is for Vinka a mid-motor equipped with torque, cadence and direction sensors for 25km/h e-bikes as well as speed pedelecs. Vinka offers a complete e-bike system including batteries made in China.

Korean Hycore presented an e-bike wheel which integrates a 180W motor with detachable batteries offering 168Wh. The complete wheel (including rim and tyre) weighs 6kgs and is a 26 inch type.

Chinese Shengyi presented its CMT01 500W – 90Nm mid-motor which with a weight of 4.6kgs is targeting Cargo Bikes.
What also stood out at this edition of Taipei Cycle is that airless tyres and the use of inserts in bicycle and e-bike tyres looks to become a new trend. Nexo, Tannus and AirFom are the new suppliers of such inserts that have to eradicate punctures.

The next Taipei Cycle Show takes place from March 27 – 30, 2019.

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