TAIPEI, Taiwan (BRAIN)—Grumbling over Taipei Cycle’s timing and its isolated new venue can still be heard, but everyone who is anyone in the bicycle industry will come together there this week.
The 2009 Taipei Cycle is even larger this year than last year as show organizers have squeezed an extra exhibitor into the sold-out space. The show runs March 17-20 at the Nangang Exhibition Hall, which opened last year.
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou is expected to preside over the show’s opening, said Ying-Ming Yang, chairman of the Taiwan Bicycle Exporters Association. Ma, a U.S.-educated politician and former Taipei mayor, is no stranger to a bicycle saddle. As one of Taiwan’s biggest trade shows, Taipei Cycle often attracts Taiwan presidents and other top politicians.
Some 762 exhibitors have signed up for the 2009 show, spokeswoman Andrea Wu said, claiming 2,888 booths. That’s a slight increase from 2008 show’s 761 exhibitors and 2,840 booths.
Early February pre-registration was running ahead of last year’s tally, Wu added, and organizers expect more attendees to use the show’s online registration.
“I think the increase will be more significant,” she said.
For many exhibitors, Taipei Cycle has lost its relevance. The sourcing cycle is so early that a March show is now too late to affect next year’s product.
But some say the show is still valuable as a networking opportunity.
“While the timing is obviously not right for OEM or Northern Hemisphere distributors, you have to accept the fact that most if not all of your global customers and competitors will be there,” said Lance Bohlen of Kore.
“By not being there you risk sending the message that either you're not viable [or] in financial trouble or that you're so big and strong that you don't care,” Bohlen added. “We're not in that ‘big and strong’ category so we have to be there—period.”
With some 55,000 visitors expected this year—5,000 of them from overseas—Taipei Cycle is a huge event where the global bicycle industry comes to network.
BRAIN staff attending the show will blog throughout next week on our dedicated Taiwan Blog. Bookmark the link for ongoing coverage straight from the show floor.