Ludhiana, India – already a bicycle manufacturing stronghold – has been flagged up by Punjab’s Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal as an investment opportunity for global cycling manufacturers.
In news that has not gone down well with local industrialists, Singh Badal is said to have already met with the Chinese Bicycle Association over the weekend with the goal to drive exports from the valley from the current $1 billion up to $5 billion.
The proposal is to establish the “world’s largest high-end and electric bike manufacturing facility,” with an output of 15 million bicycles a year and work could begin as soon as August with five international companies already having declared an interest. Many of the bikes made will be destined for export.
The Deputy Chief Minister attended China Cycle 2016 where he outlined hopes the region will become known for more than just the “common man’s bicycle”, pointing to a global rise in demand for both electric and high-end bicycles.
He said: “I have studied the entire eco-system necessary to come out with affordable electric cycles and am confident this can be implemented at the Cycle Valley in Ludhiana. The Punjab government will fast track permissions as well as allot land to all the five promoters who have decided to set up manufacturing facilities including four Chinese and one Taiwanese company.
The interested parties are said to be the Bafang company, Sate Lite Kent Lee, Joy Kie Industry, Shenzhen New Canghai Machinary and Promax of Taiwan
“The time is ripe for e- cycles to make an entry into India and pioneering companies will benefit the most,” he added.
The proposal, as well as vastly upping the region’s manufacturing power, will create 150,000 jobs.
As much as 300 acres has been set aside for the proposed expansion, though existing Ludhiana bike makers say they will oppose the development.
Hero Cycles Chairman Pankaj Munjal has also given a brief about potential of the e-cycle industry in India. He said there was a huge gap between the cycle and motor cycle segment with consumers paying Rs 4,000 on an average for a cycle and Rs 50,000 for a motor cycle. He said there was a huge potential for competitively priced e-cycles costing Rs 10,000 and even premium builds costing up to Rs 25,000.