Monday, June 24, 2024

Europe stays in shape, thanks to Taiwanese tech

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Yet surprisingly, a significant proportion of the equipment helping Europeans stay active is made thousands of kilometres away – in Taiwan. Taiwanese companies produce 38% of bicycles sold in the European Union, according to market analyst Euromonitor, and are the source of major fitness and workout equipment brands including Matrix and Strength Master.

Healthy business

A compact island, with around 24 million people spread over an area slightly larger than Belgium, Taiwan’s economy has long been geared towards exports due to its small domestic market. Yet over the generations, Taiwan’s flexible and resilient manufacturers progressed from producing for overseas companies to creating their own respected, high-quality brands.

More than 800 Taiwanese companies focus on bicycle-related industries, from complete bicycles and e-bikes through to lights, chains and parts. “Taiwan has been leading bicycle production at the global stage,” Euromonitor analyst Jane Zhang said. “Its strengths lie in their established supply chain, which makes them much more ready than other countries to push forward new product development, especially electric bicycles.”

Founded in 1972, Taiwan’s Giant Manufacturing Co is the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer, with 2019 revenues of over US$2 billion (NT$63.45 billion). Its brands include Giant, Liv, Momentum and CADEX. Racers particularly value the company’s aerodynamic TCR series, with champions such as Greg Van Avermaet riding to victory in the 2019 Grand Prix Cycliste Montréal on a pre-production model of the TCR Advanced SL Disc.

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