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Bicycles Making a Comeback in China

In recent years, the number of bicycles in China’s main cities has gradually decreased as Chinese consumers grew affluent enough to be able to afford cars.

The number of bicycles in China is expected to decrease to 350 million in the next three years from 370 million in 2015, according to market research firm Frost & Sullivan.

Yet, the introduction of innovative, premium two-wheelers is helping the personal vehicle industry to stay profitable, despite the gradual decrease in the number of bicycles.

Market consultancy Euromonitor International estimates that the market size of the bicycle industry in China will increase to 78.34 billion yuan in 2020 from 57 billion yuan in 2015.

So, to make the Chinese pedal again and to ride the expected boom in sales, a group of foreign entrepreneurs has introduced innovative bikes.

German-born Ines Brunn wanted to show the locals that bicycles could be trendy. She opened her own bike store Natooke in a traditional hutong in the Chinese capital.

Natooke claims to be the first store to have introduced fixed-gear models in Beijing. It also said it pioneered bike customization.

In her store, customers can create their own bikes from scratch to suit their personality, tastes and needs.

Natooke’s fixed-gear bikes retail from 2,900 yuan ($430). The firm also offers a wide variety of cycling accessories such as smog-protection masks.

Other services include cycling events to promote the use of clean transportation.

The store’s success was such that other investors wanted to adopt the Natooke customization concept in other cities in China, to profit from the fresh popularity of bicycles.

Although her business is progressing well, she said that online competition is currently very strong, offering cheaper prices for lower quality products. – ChinaDaily

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