TAICHUNG, Taiwan (BRAIN) — Steve Fenton always has said Taichung Bike Week is a three-day show for the industry by the industry. After concluding its 15th annual event on Friday, Fenton said Bike Week delivered again.
“There’s no event like it,” said Fenton, a show organizer from his Pro-Lite booth in the Evergreen Hotel on Friday. “In my opinion, it’s the most important trade show in the bike industry. It’s where decisions are made and deals are done. It’s where people interact and drive the industry forward.”
The annual no-nonsense OEM show is open to product managers and local suppliers. Fenton said all 1,100 exhibitor spaces were taken in the three participating hotels and that buyer and visitor attendance was up 15 percent from last year, when Bike Week had to compete with Taipei Cycle Show, which moved from March to October.
“This is a unique format here,” Fenton said. “You go to Interbike, Taipei show, Eurobike and spend (a lot) of money creating an impression. Here, nobody (cares about making an impression). Here, they want to know what you’ve got, when it’s ready and what’s the price. My budget for this show is 150,000 Taiwan dollars. When I do Taipei show, it’s about 1.2 million. For the past four years, I have not done any business at Taipei show. Here, we do business.”
Fenton said he had done “millions of dollars” at Bike Week entering Friday. Pro-Lite manufactures about 70,000 wheelsets a year, he said, with plans to increase that by 30,000 next year.
He also noted two exhibitors booked space across the street from the Evergreen at an organic vegetarian restaurant to display their products. “That’s what makes it unique: You can create your own space,” he said.
“Trade shows are all about saying hello to people that you’ve known for years. (Bike Week) is a very unique event. No other country can replicate it. Imagine you’re a product manager for a bike company. I can create an experience for you to sit exactly where you are right now and you are within a 40-minute drive of 90 percent of Taiwan’s bicycle industry. Taiwan is the epicenter of the bicycle industry.”
John Siegrist agrees. The vice president and chief operating officer of Janus Cycle Group was at Bike Week for the first time in several years promoting the recent purchase of Knight Wheels and visiting distributors, OEMs and to meet with his trading company. “You can sit down and go over some stuff and have fun,” Siegrist said. “We had an epic flight. First part of the trip was going to China. Let’s blaze it. We were up 30 some hours. We also visit factories. This is a great time to get together. Super productive.”
Siegrist said Bike Week’s growth and success can be tied to the show knowing exactly what purpose it serves the industry.
“This is the best OEM show,” he said. “It’s designed as that. There are distributors here, too. Sea Otter is a festival, and it’s where new product is introduced. CABDA is for dealers. But if you can’t define what show you are: Interbike. Nobody ever knew what they were. Were you a consumer show, a dealer show, trying to be like Sea Otter?”
Bike Week’s three-hotel format has existed for the past 10 years, and Fenton doesn’t see that changing, even though there are rumblings that a planned exposition center downtown could make a play to host the event.
“We do not need to move to an expo center and pay four times more to do the same job we’re doing now,” Fenton said. “TBW sticks to the basics while looking and listening to what the industry needs, and what it needs is a platform on which to do business.”