2024 Shanghai Show: Intense Competition in Domestic Market

Text & Photos: Daphne Chen

The 2024 China International Bicycle Exhibition (referred to as the Shanghai Show) was grandly held at the May 5th New International Expo Center in Pudong from May 5th to May 8th. Themed "New Track, New Power, New Journey," this year's Shanghai Exhibition further expanded its scale with an exhibition area of 150,000 square meters and approximately 1,500 participating companies, showcasing across 13 halls (compared to 10 halls in 2023). Unlike previous years, this year's event attracted many young attendees, as well as buyers from Central and South America and Southeast Asia.

In the past two years, cycling has become a new trend and social activity, particularly among young people, thanks to the boost from live streaming by internet celebrities. This trend has attracted many young individuals to join the ranks of bicycle buyers. Road bikes, in particular, have seen a surge in sales, with various brands fiercely competing on specifications, equipment, and prices. The competition has become intense, with prices for carbon fiber road bikes equipped with electronic gear systems and internal wiring designs dropping to less than US$2,100.

The global market is experiencing a downturn in sales and economic stagnation due to an excess of bicycle inventory and slow digestion, compounded by factors such as inflation and wars. However, the Chinese market stands out as a shining exception. The domestic demand for bicycles is thriving, with sales growing rapidly. This is especially true for mid-to-high-end sports bicycles and road bikes. Many local manufacturers, who previously relied heavily on exports, have shifted their focus to the domestic market due to a sharp decline in export orders. This shift has intensified competition in the local market.

In addition to domestic Chinese brands aggressively targeting the domestic market, foreign brands are also actively expanding into the Chinese domestic market. Among them, Decathlon made its debut at the Shanghai Exhibition, showcasing its latest high-end bicycle brand, Van Rysel. This brand also sponsors the UCI Pro Team AG2R and participates in this year's Giro d'Italia and Tour de France.

Many industry insiders estimate that this irregular competition may face a reshuffle by the end of this year.