This growing demand has encouraged Chinese e-bike manufacturers to expand their businesses abroad, particularly in the US and Europe.
On April 24, Joy Kie, a Shenzhen-listed bike and e-bike manufacturer in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, noted in its 2022 annual financial statement that both the US and the EU market would continue to need imports to meet the fast increase of e-bike demand.
Most of Joy Kie’s products are for export. In 2022, e-bikes were its only category that recorded a strong sales revenue increase.
Steering clear from the fierce competition of the e-moped market in China, DYU focused on short-distance commuters to tap the overseas market.
According to DYU general manager Tian Jinliang, annual sales increased since the company entered the market in 2017 until 2022, when pandemic lockdowns affected supply chains across China. “Even that year, sales still equaled the year before,” Tian told NewsChina.
In 2018, DYU became the first Chinese e-bike maker carried by US big-box retailer chain Costco Wholesale. Costco ordered 8,000 e-bikes and an additional 20,000 the following year. In 2022, the annual production value of DYU neared 500 million yuan (US$72.5m), with a US market share above 40 percent, the Guangzhou-based Yangcheng Evening News reported in April.
Joy Kie announced its addition to Walmart and Costco’s online stores on April 19, 2023.
Chinese bicycle manufacturer TRINX launched its e-bike brand Tenways in May 2021, targeting urban commuters in Europe and the US. It has a headquarters in the Netherlands and several facilities across Europe. Tenways’s entry model is priced around 12,000 yuan (US$1,747) in Europe, three to four times the cost of a mid-range e-moped in China.
Also in 2021, Zhu and his partners rolled out their e-bike line Fafrees on online platforms worldwide, including Amazon. Last year, they sold about 10,000 e-bikes and expect sales to double, Zhu said. Instead of opening brick-and-mortar outlets for maintenance services, Fafrees compensates customers between 30 and 100 euros (US$33-110) in cash for needed parts and repairs.
In 2018, the EU imposed an anti-dumping tax ranging from 21.8 to 83.6 percent on e-bikes imported from China. From 2014 to 2017, the number of Chinese e-bikes exported to the EU tripled, with market share growing to 35 percent, while average prices dropped by 11 percent, Reuters reported.
The tax, intended to shield Europe’s domestic producers from price dumping, has actually saved a number of Chinese start-ups from engaging in undercutting and price wars, Zhu said. “The high tax yields high prices. And the reasonable revenues enable enterprises to focus more on research and development to get a firm foothold in the European market,” he said.