TAICHUNG, Taiwan (BRAIN)—Like swallows to Capistrano, product managers are flocking to Taichung for Taichung Bike Week. (Click on story title then PDF link next to title to view Taichung Bike Week PDF newsletter).
About 1,500 industry members—mostly product managers—are expected to attend the mini-trade show, which runs through Wednesday, said Steve Fenton of Pro-Lite, a volunteer organizer of the event.
“There are many Westerners in Taichung right now,” said Fenton, a Taichung resident. He said several hotels in Taichung are sold out.
Bike Week has attracted at least 126 companies that are exhibiting at three Taichung hotels, and at the Ride On Taiwan event that took place at the Freshfields Resort on the outskirts of the city.
Many companies are attending Taichung Bike Week for the first time as they attempt to get a handle on this fast-growing event.
“The great thing about this show is that you have already introduced your product and set up and qualified a relationship,” said Peter Gilbert, vice president of sales for Cane Creek. “People you have appointments with are ready to do business. Unlike other shows, when we finish here we have orders.”
Kind Shock is also making its first appearance at Taichung Bike Week.
“We recognize it’s easier for product managers to meet with us in a group environment,” the company’s Rick Taylor said. “I don’t know if we’ll pick up new customers, but this makes it easier for our existing customers to meet with us.”
Like many in Taichung, Taylor said the event is too late for most U.S. product managers but provides a good opportunity to meet with their European counterparts.
For the Americans, he said, “Everybody’s really wrapping up before Thanksgiving. They’re just fine-tuning things between now and the Christmas holiday.”
But Fenton said the timing is still attractive to many U.S. brands.
“Americans never really came to the show at this time of year, but they are definitely coming now. If you look at it, there are 150 companies here,” Fenton said. “[Product managers] can come here for a week, have six or seven meetings a day and get the job done. They can’t do that at trade shows.”
Fenton, along with Katerina Rejchrtova of WTB Europe and Anna Wang, a Taichung city official, have worked for two years to transform what had been a number of disorganized mini-shows into a larger, more cohesive event.
“It’s been hard getting people from within the industry to work together. You can’t believe how difficult that was,” Fenton said. “It’s nice to see the bike industry finally pull together.”
He said the Evergreen Hotel, one of the event’s hosts, expects to open another floor to Bike Week next year, allowing for another 50 exhibitors.
And bigger changes soon may be needed.
“Where is it going to be in two years’ time? That’s the question,” Fenton said.
Click on story title then PDF link next to title to view Taichung Bike Week PDF newsletter.