First-half (H1) bicycle exports surged by 55.48 per cent year-on-year, the finance ministry confirmed, extending a multi-year uptrend driven by growing eco-consciousness, health concerns and fitness culture, and more recently, Covid-linked lifestyle shifts and elevated fuel prices.
Cambodia’s January-June bicycle exports were worth a total of $455.89 million, versus the $293.2 million recorded in the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
An earlier Fresh News report, which cited Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay, indicated that the figure represented 1,701,285 bicycles with an average value of $267.97 each.
Finance ministry statistics showed that first-quarter exports clocked in at $231.02 million, surging by 50.1 per cent year-on-year, while the second-quarter figure came it at $224.87 million, expanding by 61.45 per cent year-on-year – but marking a 2.7 per cent slip quarter-on-quarter.
In a recent interview with The Post, Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng noted that bicycles had bucked the trend of shrinking exports during Covid-19.
Bicycle exports steadily grew during the height of the pandemic as governments around the world called on the public to avoid public transport, in favour of transport modes that are seen as more safe, such as bicycles and personal vehicles, he added.
On the other hand, he said, the wider adoption of bikes for exercise or due to environmental concerns had markedly trimmed emissions from fuel-powered vehicles.
“Bicycles hold a strong market position and the number of riders is set to rise,” Heng predicted.
He underscored that Cambodian-assembled bicycles are “high-quality” and made for “world-famous” brands. Heng noted that the majority of the Kingdom’s bicycle assembly plants are Taiwanese-owned and located in the special economic zones of Bavet town, Svay Rieng province.
Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, told The Post on September 22 that health concerns, volatile fuel prices and new lifestyle choices are fuelling demand for bicycles, especially in developed countries.
The jump in sales abroad was also supported by the large number of major markets placing orders for Cambodian-made bikes, he remarked, positing that increasing enthusiasm for exercise and environmental protection would augur well for the export of the pedal-driven two-wheelers going forward.
Vanak noted that the upswing in exports has also translated into new job opportunities for Cambodians and the diversification of the Kingdom’s exports.
There are five bicycle factories in Cambodia, all located in Svay Rieng province. According to Fresh News, these are: A and J (Cambodia) Co Ltd; Speedtech Industrial Co Ltd; Smart Tech (Cambodia) Co Ltd; XDS Bicycle (Cambodia) Co Ltd; and Evergrand Bicycle (Cambodia) Co Ltd.
Major export markets for Cambodian bicycles include the US, Germany, Belgium, the UK and the Netherlands, while the Kingdom primarily imports bicycles from Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand and the US.
In 2021, Cambodia exported a total of $630.69 million worth of bicycles, climbing by 20.58 per cent over the $523.04 million booked in 2020, according to the finance ministry.