Building Taiwan’s Bicycle Business

When considering Taiwanese manufacturing, usually high-tech electronics and semiconductors come to mind but Taiwan is also a global leader in bicycles, a 200-year-old European technology that until recently, hadn’t changed a great deal. One of the few sectors that didn’t decline during the pandemic, Taiwan’s bicycle business is booming. Mika Sahlström, Asian Insiders partner in Taiwan, takes a closer look.

In many countries over those 200 years, bicycles have always been around, as cheap transport for kids and for adult urban health and recreation. Largely introduced under Japanese occupation, Taiwan’s bicycle business grew rapidly following the Second World War. In the decades since, Taiwan has become a major global manufacturer of bikes and bicycle components and increasingly a host to research and development centres for major international brands, now even hosting the worlds premier annual bicycle expo, Taipei Cycle.

Taiwan is home to several of the world’s leading bicycle brands, including Giant and Merida, as well as high quality componentry used by all the world’s bicycle manufacturers. In fact, it’s the quality of this componentry that has helped propel Taiwan’s bicycle business to the heights it occupies today. Taiwan’s bicycle business output hit a record high of USD 6 billion back in 2022, up over 24% year on year. Fully assembled bicycles saw the largest surge in production value, rising 31% from January to October 2023. Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) recently stated that Taiwan’s bicycle business now ranks among the top three bike exporters to over 50 countries around the globe, accounting for well over 30% of all imports to these markets.

Over years, as the popularity of bicycles grew in various countries, in particular in the US, due to the rise of various trends such as trail biking, Taiwan businesses leapt at the opportunity and is now home to more than 900 bicycle-related companies clustered mainly in the Taichung, Changhua and Tainan areas. These companies, having gone through various stages of competition, have moved towards cooperation and collaboration, forming an ecosystem that strengthens the entire industry. This has allowed both component designers and makers to work with bicycle assemblers to innovate industry-leading technologies in both design and fabrication.

Most advancements in Taiwan’s bicycle business are driven by the search for lightweight and high-strength bicycles in newer, superior materials with improved design features. This has led to the introduction of a range of new equipment and processes for manufacturing bicycles and parts. But one area in particular of innovation in bicycle design has been the e-bike, or electrically assisted bicycle. Since 2022, the value of e-bike sales globally has surpassed thee sale of traditional bikes and presently accounts for more than 70f% of Taiwan’s assembled bicycle export market.

E-bikes are popular with older people, where the bike can assist riders with additional required power, or with children and even with disabled folk, whom traditionally might not be able to ride a normal bicycle. E-bikes make riding more accessible for people living in areas with more hills, and where the additional electrical power ensures a more comfortable ride. The principles behind powering e-bikes lie in determining when the rider might require assistive power and how much. This is a key difference between e-bikes and electric motor scooters. The design must make the ride feel natural, without sudden applications of power or where the rider loses any control. Intelligent design leads to intelligent applications and in our world of emerging AI, Taiwan’s bicycle businesses are developing ways to improve and broaden the bike riding experience.

These includes improved digital connections, a range of bike specific GPS navigation products, training aids and a series of apps for journey management, health monitoring, even group share ride tools.

AI need not apply only to the bikes themselves, but also to the backend management systems. Ideas around bike monitoring and maintenance following principles of the Internet of Things (IoT) can extend also to public bikeshare services where municipalities can efficiently maintain whole networks of bikes for public use. The advantages to cities are innumerable from encouraging the reduction of car usage, reducing emissions and congestion to improving public well-being.

A future beckons where the next wave of bike riding can be enjoyed by more people on a new generation of bicycles deploying high-tech design, manufacture and AI thinking. Globally competitive in both bicycles and electronics, Taiwan is sure to remain a significant force in this future.

Taiwan’s bicycle business has grown from strength to strength, demonstrating a cluster-based approach to an entire industry not dominated by a single large company. This allows ample opportunity for further engagement by startups, operators and investors, foreign and domestic. To explore these and to discuss a comprehensive approach, please contact Jari Hietala, Managing Partner: jari.hietala(at) or Mika Sahlström, Taiwan Partner: mika.sahlstrom(at)

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