‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative offers opportunities for Chinese e-bike producers
Innovation, intelligence & interaction
Published: May 10, 2017 05:38 PM

With innovation, intelligence and interaction as its theme, the 27th annual China International Bicycle & Motor Fair (China Cycle) was held at the National Exhibition and Convention Center from May 6 to 9. A total of 1,226 enterprises from over 20 countries and regions participated in the event.

 China is the world's foremost bicycle producing and exporting country. In 2016, the country's total output of bicycles was 80.05 million units, with export volume reaching 57.566 million units at a value of $3.09 billion, occupying 60 percent of the global bicycle trading volume.

China has also made tremendous contributions to the development of green transportation. At present, the Chinese bicycle industry has reached a transformation and upgrading stage, as its direction matches developing China's five concepts of "innovative, harmonious, green, open and sharing."

Shared bike brands were seen everywhere at the event's exhibition halls. The Global Times found that there were collective exhibitions of eye-catchingly colorful bikes and individual showrooms for specific brands.

To advocate green travel, promote the concept of sharing and provide convenient travel, the China Cycle sponsors, along with Phoenix and ofo brands, jointly created a "3km simulation demonstration area" which provided 1,200 bicycle-sharing units of Phoenix and ofo brand bikes for exhibitors and audiences to try.

Sun Muchu (right) speaks at China Cycle.

Social responsibility

Although shared bicycles bring convenience to city residents for their "last kilometer" commuting headache, the logistical side effects have also caught the public's attention. The China Bicycle Association reported on its website that a professional bike-share committee was established on May 7 to solve the "messy" parking issue of shared bikes in the community.

The association hopes that all brands involved can take social responsibility to cooperate and solve this problem with the help of big data. At the same time, Chinese bicycle manufacturers are no longer satisfied with just "made in China;" they hope to impress the world with innovation and technology upgrades.

Guangdong-based TAILG is one such company. Established in 1998, TAILG is a professional manufacturer specializing in R&D, manufacturing, marketing and servicing new energy vehicles. Its products cover e-bikes, scooters and other vehicles. TAILG ranks among China's top 4.

The company proudly introduced at the event its new, internationally awarded C-One e-bike model, which will enter the market this month. The model won Europe-based Reddot's design award this year, the first Chinese e-bike manufacturer to do so. Reddot is regarded as one of the top honors in the global design industry.

The C-One bicycle is a future concept model which can be operated and controlled with a smartphone app. The one-key-in-all model has been granted five international patents and more than a hundred domestic patents.

TAILG's Reddot-awarded C-One electric bike Photos: Feng Yu/GT

Overseas ambition

Sun Muchu, TAILG's vice president and R&D director, told journalists anecdotes about the company's award-winning model and also its ambitions for overseas market expansion and an IPO within the next five years.

At the fair, sales contracts worth 210 million yuan ($30.42 million) were signed between TAILG and clients from around the world, including Germany, Poland, France, Vietnam, India and Mexico. TAILG hopes that, under the country's "One Belt, One Road" initiative, more electric bicycles can be exported to developed and developing countries. Statistics show that demand in some East Asian countries has increased in recent years.

Ma Zhongchao, Chairman of China Bicycle Association, said at a press conference during the fair that the domestic electric bicycle market has reached its peak with stagnant demand in recent years. Sales volume has declined from 36 million in 2013 to 31 million in 2016, which poses a challenge for manufacturers.

As such, insiders believe the "One Belt, One Road" initiative provides a great opportunity for companies with good brand recognition and high-quality products. Ma admitted that it will be a turning point for the whole industry, as low-end manufacturers will be squeezed out of the market. Almost all Chinese e-bike producers have a price advantage over their overseas counterparts.

According to the China Bicycle Association, an average Europe-made electric bicycle is priced at least 1,500 euros ($1,634), while the average price of a China made one is a mere 400 euros.

Hot topics

According to the organizing committee, there are several highlights at China Cycle. One of them is gathering world boutiques and exhibiting Chinese elegance. The biggest highlight of this exhibition is the Innovation Demonstration Pavilion. All exhibits in this exhibition area are boutiques with the highest creativity.

The exhibits aim to promote bicycle design and R&D by new design, new technology and new material application while also exploring wider and longer development paths of the industry.

Famous European brand Benelli is a motorcycle manufacturer with longest history in the world. Their classic brand also produces Li-ion battery bicycles. Benelli exhibited their Navigator Li-ion battery station wagon at this year's China Cycle.

The fair offered a good opportunity for collecting opinions from people from all walks seeking new development paths. Professional industrial forums and new product release activities were also organized at the event, including a riding culture micro forum, a bicycle-sharing micro forum, and new product and strategy releases by different exhibitors. On the forum Bicycle and City Development, the hot topic "bicycle and city sharing practice" was selected as the theme of the Theme Exhibition.