The rise of the Taiwanese bicycle manufacturing industry has been little short of meteoric in recent years and the latest industry figures point to a continuation of the trend.
In the period from January to November 2007 the country’s bike makers saw a double-digit growth in exports to Europe while overall export revenues rose by a whopping 24%. Europe, however, remains easily the biggest market for Taiwan-made bikes, with Britain the country's biggest market worldwide. The UK imported 822,394 bikes in the period – up 18% on the previous year – followed by Germany (394,088), Holland (349,026) and Belgium (264,527). Indeed between January and November 2007, 3 million bikes arrived in the European Union from Taiwan, representing over 69% of the country’s total 4.3 million units output. With the average revenue earned for each bike being $217 the total revenue came to $937 million.
Meanwhile Merida and Giant have been upping their investment in manufacturing facilities on the Chinese mainland. Merida's new plant in the Shandong province is to come on stream in the summer, initially producing 500,000 bikes annually, that figure that will eventually rise to 1 million. Not to be outdone, Giant has just built its fourth Chinese factory. The latest, in the town of Tianjin, will produce around 1 million in its first year but that figure that will be ramped up over the next three years to 3 million.