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Sudden spike in Japanese bicycle demand strains supply: manufacturer

2011/03/16 17:36:58

Taipei, March 16 (CNA) Giant Global group, the world's largestbicycle manufacturer, said Wednesday the shopping rush for bicyclesin some quake-affected areas in Japan will strain the supply ofbicycles on the market.

Media reports have said bicycles were sold out in some disasterareas in Japan, including Tokyo, that were stricken by a 9.0magnitude earthquake in March 11 after the Japanese governmentannounced rolling blackouts. Such blackouts have limited theavailability of mass transportation, such as subways and high speedrailways.

"The earthquake will definitely increase demand for bicycles fora period of time, but it will also lead to supply problems, " saidKing Liu, president of Giant Manufacturing and chairman of the GiantGlobal group, on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the TaipeiInternational Cycle Show.

"The temporary demand is not good for the whole industry and ourcompany because we have operated with the expectation of a balancebetween the market supply and demand," he said.

Although Giant is taking emergency measures to increase bicyclesupply to Japan, the Taiwan-based bicycle maker still facesdifficulties to meet the boosting demand, Liu said.

According to Liu, Giant sells 1 million bicycles to Japan peryear, representing roughly 10 percent of Japan's annual import ofbicycles.

The Taipei International Cycle Show, currently taking place fromMarch 16-19 at the Nangang Exhibition Hall, has registered 948exhibitors from 36 countries, including Germany, Italy, theNetherlands, Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Japan andTaiwan.

These exhibitors have set up 3,060 booths, and will attract anestimated total of 35,300 buyers, including 5,300 foreign buyers,making it Asia's largest cycling trade show.

In 2010, shipments of Taiwan's assembled bicycles rose 17.87percent to 5.07 million units from the previous year. Total exportrevenue reached NT$44.25 billion (US$1.5 billion) , which representsyear-on-year growth of 20.24 percent, according to the Bureau ofForeign Trade.

Japan is the fifth-largest export country for Taiwanese bicycles,accounting for 5.36 percent of exports last year, behind the UnitedStates (21.45 percent) , the Netherlands (13.05 percent) , Britain(12.73 percent) and Germany (8.41 percent).

(By Jeffrey Wu)