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Giant warns that spike in bike sales in Japan will lead to supply shortages

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 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.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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