It’s amazing to consider there are, today, over 3 hundred million bicycles in China. A far cry to their popularity as late since the 1940’s when there were only around fifty per cent of a million bicycles in the complete of that country.
What’s peculiar is that the Chinese bicycle industry, according to Internet research, seemingly have begun in exactly the same way that the British bicycle industry finds itself today. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the bicycles for sale in China were of good quality and imported from Britain, Germany and the U.S., with British bicycle producers exhibiting their machines in China. ร้านจักรยาน สุวรรณภูมิ The first production lines set up by the biggest Chinese importers were all from imported components and in tiny quantities compared to the variety of bicycles being ridden and sold in Europe and America.
Today, we have gone full circle. Where Britain and Europe used to supply all the Chinese market, China is currently producing around a staggering 64 million bicycles a year. Surprisingly, though, their export rate is showing some signs of decline. The largest manufacturer of bicycles is Taiwan. Where Britain was once the supplier of high-quality bicycles into China, it is the imports back in Europe which are good quality, with prices to match. In years gone by, anything imported was always considered of inferior quality and price premiums could be likely on British-made products. While cheap bicycles less than 100 GBP are available online, or within high-street catalogue shops, most high street bicycle shop prices are far and away above this. A recently available search of both independent and high street chain bicycle shops showed bicycles priced between 400 GBP and 1,000 GBP, nearly which result from Taiwan, or America.
So how about the humble British bicycle manufacturer? Do they still exist? British production rates have declined year on year from 325,000 units in 2003, to approximately 80,000 units in 2007. Compare this to the imports of around 3.5 million, and we get a huge contrast to true British production. Where they exist, they look like, typically, made-to-order and appear to cater for the specialist markets of, like, Sports, Special Needs, industrial heavy-duty work bicycles – for deliveries, etc. – or the high-end, hand-built classic leisure market.
What did surprise me when searching the prices was the apparent insufficient knowledge concerning which of the stocks were British. All of the opinion was – probably quite rightly – that all the stock was imported or, if of some British origin, then only assembled in Britain from imported components – exactly since the China market started at the turn of the twentieth century.