Taiwanese firm increases shipments to earthquake-hit region

The head of Giant, the world’s biggest bicycle supplier, has warned that a surge in sales of bicycles following last week’s earthquake and tsunami will affect short-term supply of bikes.

As reported on road.cc earlier this week, commuters in Tokyo rushed to buy bicycles on Friday to help them get home, and scheduled power cuts and disruption to public transport in the region affected by the disaster have also led to increased demand for bicycles.

"The earthquake will definitely increase demand for bicycles for a period of time, but it will also lead to supply problems, " said King Liu, president of Giant Manufacturing, speaking at the Taipei International Cycle Show, reports Focus Taiwan.

The island state, situated some 100 miles off the coast of mainland China, is by far the world’s biggest bicycle supplier. It is home to major manufacturers Giant and Merida – which besides bikes under their own brands also make frames for some of the most historic names in the European bike industry.

The Taipei International Cycle Show, which finishes on Saturday, is one of the biggest such events in the world and is attended by exhibitors and buyers from around the globe.

Giant is unlikely to be the ony company to have increased supply of bikes to Japan as a result of last week's terrible events, meaning that the market as a whole may be affected.

"The temporary demand is not good for the whole industry and our company because we have operated with the expectation of a balance between the market supply and demand," Mr Liu explained.

While the company has addressed the spike in demand in Japan by increasing shipments to the country, those bikes have to come from somewhere, which presumably means that stocks to other countries will have to be temporarily reduced from the number originally projected.

Mr Liu stated that Giant accounts for some 10% of bicycles imported to Japan, selling 1 million units there each year.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.