TAIWAN > TAICHUNG > ARTICLES
MAGAZINE, March 1999. VOL. 6 ISSUE
Taichung Industry Spotlight
Credit: Courtesy of the World Trade Center, Taichung
Taichung is the world leader in the production of quality bicycles.
For 16 consecutive years, Taiwan has been the largest global exporter
in terms of export value. In 1996, it exported 9.5 million bicycles
worth US$980 million. Some 90% of Taiwan's bicycles and 80% of bicycle
parts are manufactured in the Greater Taichung Area.
Taichung's bicycle industry has been export-oriented from the beginning.
Since the area was already strong in related industries such as
sporting goods, composite materials and machines, it was able to
capitalize on the opportunity to become the leading world supplier
of bicycles. Recently, a dramatic rise in labor costs has pushed
Taichung bicycle manufacturers to develop high-end, quality products
and to diversify their product lines.
Even professional items such as mountain bikes for export are now
produced in the area. Materials used include titanium, carbon-fiber,
chromium, aluminum steel and even wood.
Two manufacturers have become leaders in research and development
in bicycle technology. World-renowned Giant Manufacturing Co., Ltd.,
located in Tachia--20 kilometers from downtown Taichung--has its
own R&D team. As a result, the company is winning widespread
international recognition under its own brand name. Merida Industry
Co., Ltd., located in Yuanlin--which is about 35 kilometers from
Taichung--has also developed new types of carbon-fiber bicycles
in cooperation with eight other manufacturers. Giant and Merida
accounted for about one-fifth of Taiwan's bicycle exports in 1996.
Producing 2.5 million units per year, including 1.1 million in Taichung,
1.4 million in mainland China and 0.1 million in Europe, Giant is
now the world's leading bicycle manufacturer and largest exporter.
Its factory in the Netherlands started production in June, 1997,
with a target of 300,000 units per year in 2000. Falcon Cycle Parts
Co., Ltd., located in Shenkang -- 25 kilometers from downtown Taichung
-- has also decided to open an office in the Netherlands, in order
to develop its own Falcon brand name in the European market.
Falcon is the number one manufacturer of derailleurs in Taiwan and
number two in the world. Merida Industry Co. developed the earth-friendly,
oil-free, power-assisted "PEDCON" bicycle that went on
the market in 1996.
The company has signed sales contracts for US$20 million worth of
powered bikes with Holland's Koch Kleeberg B.V., Germany's Merida-Fahrrad-Vertries
GmbH and Autosonik Group s.r.l. It is expected to sell 0.18 million
powered bikes in the coming five years.
Aside from complete cycles, bicycle components such as derrailleurs,
chains and coast brakes also dominate the world market in terms
of output. The ROC Ministry of Economic Affairs has financed the
establishment of a Bicycle Industry Research and Development Center
According to export figures for 1996, the EU accounts for 2.96 million,
or 31%, of Taiwan's bicycle exports, followed by the U.S. at 30%,
or 2.92 million units, and Japan at 13%, or 1.23 million units.