TAICHUNG, Taiwan (BRAIN) — TAITRA officials said Monday during an introductory press conference before its annual bike factory tour week that Taiwan’s e-bike exports grew by 131% by volume in the first three quarters of this year compared to the same time last year.
Officials also said the country is regulating e-bikes more for rider safety and battery fire concerns, promoting bicycle tourism in the coming year and continuing to make the area more bike-friendly.
The four-day factory tour for 22 journalists from around the world features visits to seven factories in addition to a day at the Iron Hill Cycling Sport Village in Taichung for new product launches.
According to the Customs Administration of the Ministry of Finance, Taiwan exported 452,000 e-bikes from January-September. Total e-bike exports by value were up 119.5% to $591 million compared to the same time last year. Exports of e-bikes to North America and Europe accounted for 91% of the total export volume. The top three countries that imported Taiwan bikes were the Netherlands (161,000 units), the U.S. (92,000), and Germany (34,000). By value, the Netherlands again led the way with $218.5 million, followed by the U.S. ($117.3 million) and Germany ($43.6 million).
Overall, export revenue of Taiwanese bicycles — including pedal bikes, e-bikes and components — increased in overall value by 11% compared to the same time last year, reaching $2.6 billion.
“If you are a made-in-Taiwan bike, it’s a quality bicycle,” said Walter Yeh, TAITRA president and CEO, who also noted more Taiwanese bike companies are expanding to other countries like Germany and Portugal.
The popularity of e-bikes in Taiwan, with an estimated 330,000 on the roads, is creating concern with safety, both from an equipment and rider standpoint. Bing-ming Lin, deputy director of Material and Chemical Research Laboratories, said 11 rental e-bikes have caught fire at Kenting National Park alone in the past two years.
“Regulations are becoming stricter and stricter,” Lin said.
Since the beginning of the year, Taiwan requires that batteries undergo a more rigorous safety certification while rider rules now require compulsory insurance and mandatory helmet use. E-bike riders must be at least 18, and an owner can be fined $390 (12,000 TWD) if the bike is discovered to have been modified to go over its designed speed.
Kuen-yuan Lin, chief secretary of the Tourism Bureau, said more emphasis will be made in 2020 on further developing cycling tourism in the country. Events, both competitive and recreational, will be promoted to attract more tourists.
Lin noted an emphasis on improving cycling infrastructure, including more cycling paths. “Cycling here has been a way of life,” he said. “We’re extremely lucky to be here to support the cycling industry. We want to establish and even more friendly environment.”
To help spread the word next year, the Taipei Cycle event will have a “Cycling Service” zone, including information on bicycle tourism and cycling training. The event on March 4-7 will feature 3,800 booths, up 17% from last year.