Manufacturing News

Chinese bicycle exports soar during pandemic

Chinese bicycle exports have soared during the past two years as bicycle demand from overseas consumers has increased for social-distancing and health concerns.

China bicycle exports rose 14.9 percent to 69.26 million units in 2021, according to customs data. Export value jumped 40.2 percent to $5.11 billion, indicating a high-end trend in exports.

"Phoenix Bicycle exported around 4 million units of bicycles in 2021, accounting for 30 percent of company sales," said Sheng Kai, business manager of Shanghai Phoenix Bicycle Co Ltd, according to a People's Daily report on Friday.

Europe, the United States and Japan account for 64 percent of the company's exports, Sheng said, adding that the two mergers and acquisitions in Tianjin in 2020 have doubled the company's exports.

Tianjin Golden Wheel Group tallied sales of 3.1 billion yuan ($487.45 million) in 2020 and 5 billion yuan in 2021, according to group president Yang Yufeng. The 250,000 electric bicycles and 2 million bicycles produced by the group each year have all contributed to its exports, which covers more than 120 countries and regions. "Bicycles exported cover a variety of types, including mountain bicycles, folding bicycles, children's bicycles and electric bicycles," Yang said.

Besides entire bicycle exports, the exports of bicycle parts also soared as the pandemic hindered certain transmission producers in supplying parts, according to Liu Chunsheng, founder and president of Zhuhai Ltwoo Controller Technology Co, Ltd. "Some suppliers in the US and Japan have extended the delivery cycle to as long as two years," he said. "We could deliver within a month."

According to Guo Wenyu, secretary-general of the China Bicycle Association, Chinese bicycle enterprises have made major progress in the R&D and innovation of core components. "The quick response of domestic suppliers amid the pandemic-stricken era has guaranteed healthy development of the industry," he said.

High value-added bicycle types, including racing bicycles, mountain bicycles and electric bicycles have pushed up the export value of the industry.

"Electric bicycles have contributed to a major part of our sales growth." Yang Yufeng said, adding that the average export price of Golden Wheel's electric bicycle reaches 1,000 euros per unit. "Export volume during the last year was 250,000 units, and we expect a continuous growth this year thanks to capacity expansion," he said.

According to Sheng Kai, electric bicycles have taken up 40 percent of market shares in the Netherlands, while market shares of e-bicycles also have rapidly grown in Germany. "Electric bicycle has become a major trend in Europe," he said.

Chinese bicycle enterprises have kept on digging in R&D innovation and e-commerce sales to better fulfill the requests of overseas customers, the report said.

Phoenix Bicycle in 2020 began establishing high-standard lithium battery R&D and testing centers. It has formed three series of electric vehicles covering ranges of mountain, city, and special-functioning.

Ltwoo Controller Technology spent more than three years in developing its own technical route, which owns more than 100 patents, ranking the company third in the world. The company developed more than 200 types of transmissions and is serving over 200 clients worldwide.

To promote the company's products during the pandemic with the ongoing restrictions for face-to-face introductions, Phoenix Bicycle invited overseas bicycle-lovers to attend its live broadcast at the company's factory and witness the birth of a bicycle from parts, according to Luo Lue, head of the company's digital foreign trade team.

Besides live broadcasting, new business and display modes such as online-exhibitions on e-commerce platform Alibaba International and LAZADA International have all broadened sales channels for the company, the People's Daily report said.

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