Annually the Taipei Cycle Show is one of the events for the global industry to cross validate strategies, innovations and market developments. However, recent events have made this impossible and the industry has been limited to online gatherings for two years. Eurobike last year, was one of the few exceptions where market trends could be discussed face to face.
Taipei Cycle show did take place in March this year with a physical event, but attendance was limited to local visitors only due to the ongoing travel restrictions.
According to Taipei Cycle show organiser TAITRA, “physical exhibitions remain an important place for industry professionals to exchange and acquire critical business information for potential opportunities in the global market. Notably, many of this year’s local visitors were from automotive and ICT industries, which may suggest that ICT integration into the cycling industry will be an upcoming trend.”
Impact on product development
Taiwan Bicycle Association Secretary General Gina Chang went one step further and stated in an interview with Bike Europe, “the minimalisation of face-to-face contact had a big impact on product development. After two years, the consequences of this constrained contact are all the more obvious looking at the current pace of product development. The importance of the product is still top of mind in the industry, but a lot of time and resources are currently invested to solve the issues of supply chain problems and hiking export costs.”
According to Gina Chang this doesn’t mean that many innovations are now in the pipeline and companies are waiting for the right moment to launch them. “Whether the industry will see a hike in product innovations largely depends on what will happen around Eurobike this summer. This show always bring a big stimulation to product innovations as it is closer to the EU market, while companies can meet existing and potential customers, exchange ideas and concepts. So, if Eurobike will be a full-scale event this July, then there will certainly be the opportunity to see more Taiwan product innovations at Taipei Cycle Show 2023.”
Successful transformation to e-bike beneficial
At the same time, Taiwan’s industry made a successful transformation to e-bikes as was reflected by the financial results of the Giant Group. Taiwan's leading bicycle producer topped its 2020 sales and profit record once again in 2021. This is despite higher costs and increasing uncertainties harming profit in Q4. In the third quarter e-bike sales increased by 37% year-on-year. Last year’s total sales increased another 17% compared to 2020, to reach TW$ 81.8 billion (€2.59 billion). The booming demand and the resulting capacity utilisation of all Giant Group production facilities led to a net profit after tax to TS$ 5.93 billion (€187.94 million). This is a new high for the bike manufacturer and a 19.8% increase compared with the previous year.
Nationwide export hike
Giant’s performance is reflected in the export statistics as published by Taiwan’s Ministry of foreign trade. Already in 2020, the turbulent market resulted in unprecedented sales increases and this trend continued into 2021. According to the latest statistics, regular bicycle exports grew by 17% in volume (1.99 million units) and 19.7% in value (€1.2 billion) from 2020 to 2021. E-bikes had an even more outstanding performance with 987,000 units (+30%) exported in 2021 worth €1.2 billion (+33%). “There has been double digit growth for e-bike exports for the last four consecutive years,” the ministry reported.