By Ni Jie
Board Chairman of Luyuan Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd., Jinhua, China
LEV Conference, Taipei, March 2005
When Mr. Ni Jie started his speech on how the Chinese LEV market has developed in three stages from 1996 until now he was, at the same time, telling the story of which he has been part of from the very beginning. His company, Luyuan Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd, located in Jinhua in Zhejiang Country, is one of the earliest e-bike manufacturers in China. After small initial research companies proved to be successful a large number of corporations emerged between from 2000 to 2003. Sales increased rapidly. It was quite possible that there were more than 10 LEV enterprises in a small town. Starting in 2004 the number of manufacturers has dropped in favor of a few large companies reaching over 100,000 units of annual production. According to Ni Jie the market has grown to 7.5 million in 2004 and will continue to grow to 10 million units by 2008. With an average income of 1,000 USD since 2004 many people can afford an electric bike to upgrade from the traditional means of transportation––the bicycle. There are currently 500 million bicycles on the roads in China. If only 10% were replaced by LEVs, this would make 50 million units. Ni Jie anticipates that this will happen within the next 5 years. Major customer groups for electric bikes are older people and “career women” in cities and in the countryside.
In the second part of his speech, Ni Jie discussed what he calls the “Outer factors” to the Chineses LEV market. Part of it is the ultimate support of LEVs from the Chinese public, which has not always been provided from the law makers. He himself was involved in two cases when the government prohibited electric bicycles and thanks to the engagement from the industry withdrew the ban again.
Currently, electric bikes are limited to a speed of 20 km/h. Many products can be “tuned” by the consumers to reach 24 to 27 km/h.
Chairman Ni Jie and General Manager Mrs. Hujihong traveled to Taiwan for the first time to show the international ambition of their company.
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