China exports 73% more bicycles in Q1 2021

Local news in China reports that exports have surged in Q1 in a bid to fulfill demand in the marketplace; 73.4% more bicycles were shipped in Q1, 2021 versus the same period in 2020.

The 16.19 million units shipped were worth $1.06 billion, a 101.6% value increase, according to data released by Chinese customs.

In the first pandemic year China’s total output hit 116.54 million units, up 15.3%, despite challenges on the production lines where Covid restrictions slowed output. The China Bicycle Association now suggests that this year the combined bicycle and electric bike industry appears on course for a 10% to 20% growth in size.

Many bicycle and electric bike producers in China, as elsewhere, now have forward order books stretching well into next year as bike labels fight both to restock, but also forecast a continued demand for product.  The China Bicycle Association believe that the country’s role in fulfilling this is significant, it believes 60% of total international trade in bicycles stems from China.

There are headwinds, however. China is still struggling with Covid in parts. Last week the FT reported that one of the world’s largest container terminals in the south of the country closed for nearly a week in May in a bid to contain an outbreak of the virus. Productivity has not returned to full capacity since.

In another ceiling to trade, the EU’s anti-dumping duties on Chinese e-bikes have seen these exports slump in recent years. It is here that neighbouring Taiwan has benefitted, alongside European e-bike firms.

There are also an increasing number of businesses investing in European production since the pandemic began to take a toll on long range sourcing. This week Rotor was one firm to pledge investment in its Spanish production, as well as neighbouring Portugal, now a focal point for European bicycle manufacturing. Others to make investments in European assembly or manufacturing include CSG, Riese & Muller, Giant, KTM, Cube and Simplon.