Why no love for Chinese and Taiwanese independent manufacturers?
It’s no big secret that a lot of our gear is made in China and Taiwan. For premium and high end items, we can look to Japan, Germany, and Italy. But thanks to their low labor costs and artificially depressed currency, we can enjoy competitive prices and generally acceptable quality from mainland China and Taiwan.
Yet, I noticed that many of their booths at Interbike were virtual ghost towns. All that was missing was some tumbleweeds rolling through. I’m not talking about brand names that we’re already familiar with. Ashima, Infini, Chosen, Leadtec and Yung Fang all had either innovative products, or appeared to be offering what looked like OEM parts for lower end bicycles. But there did not seem to be any interest.
Either they’ve chosen the wrong venue to display their goods, or their target audience was just not in attendance. I can’t imagine a shop owner wanting to partner with a brand that no one has heard of, but I could see a manufacturer or big chain taking an interest in having their own label put on some of these products.
Or is there just no love for the little guys from China and Taiwan?
Those guys come to the show to meet with the product managers from the big (and small) US brands, they don’t come to try and sign up dealers.
That answers my question. But I still felt bad for them, as they didn’t seem to be getting much foot traffic.
Even some of the Japanese brands like Nitto and Sugino were fairly low traffic, but part of that might be because the booths were so lame.