Togoparts interview with Dr David Hon (CEO of Dahon Group)
Togoparts: Dahon has been the pioneer in folding bicycles for the last 30 years. What would be Dahon’s direction for the near to middle term?
Dr Hon: Dahon has strongly established ourselves in the segment of folding bicycles over the years and it is common that our patents are widely copied by others. Nonetheless, Dahon will continue to focus in product development so as to introduce better products for consumers. Dahon will focus on the mid to high-end segment, bringing quality products.
Togoparts: We understand that Dahon has just announced the public listing of Dahon TW LLP. What role will the new establishment play in Dahon’s global operation?
Dr Hon: Taiwan has always been an important market for Dahon and we feel that there is a need for us to enhance our emphasis in this market. Dahon TW LLP primarily role is in the marketing and distribution of Dahon bicycles in Taiwan. This would allow Dahon to better re-introduce our bicycles to the consumers in Taiwan and to provide better after sales support. I believe that the market potential in Taiwan is many times more than what it is today.
In addition, Dahon will also shift our high value R&D to Taiwan given the more conducive regulatory environment.
Togoparts: We understand that Dahon has signed a collaboration agreement with Ford. Could you share the goals and objective of this new collaboration?
Dr Hon: As mentioned earlier, Dahon will focus heavily on R&D and coming up with innovative products catering for the mid to high end consumers, who are serious cycling enthusiasts, going forward. However, we also believe that we should not neglect beginners who have just started in the sport or consumers who are looking for a budget form of transportation and are not looking to invest too much on their bicycle. This is where we believe the collaboration with Ford could be a win-win for both parties.
Ford is definitely not divesting from their primary business of motor vehicle manufacturing. However, Ford foresees that personal mobility as an area of interest in the middle to long term. As cities get more populated, it would be more difficult for people to simply rely on motor vehicles to get them to their destination. As car population grows with human population, stress will be placed on transport infrastructures, traffic condition will worsen and parking space would be a luxury. Personal mobility device, such as folding bicycles, could play an important role in closing this gap. For this purpose, Ford’s primary target customers are those who are looking for practical bicycles that serve their purpose without costing an arm. Understanding this, it is easy to understand how the two companies fit each other like a missing piece of puzzle.
In addition, the two companies are jointly looking into new products development, such as motorized scooter or faster mobility transport with low carbon footprint. The next few years would be exciting for all of us.
Togoparts: We are seeing a lot of electric bikes (e-bikes) being introduced by various manufacturers. How do you foresee the development for electric bikes in the next few years?
Dr Hon: I think E-bikes make sense for the non-athletic who are looking for an affordable form of transport or users who are looking into picking up cycling as a sports, but lack the self-confidence in the initial phrase. E-bikes essentially broaden a new segment of customers who would otherwise not consider cycling as a form of transport or exercise.
E-bikes have exploded in China in the last two decades. However, its popularity has brought about just as many social complaints. It is common hear about e-bike users getting into accidents with pedestrians, disobey traffic rules and riding recklessly among crowded streets. This has generated negative public sentiments towards e-bikes.
Despite all these, I foresee that e-bikes are here to stay and sales could hit 3 times of current figure in the next decade. Meanwhile, there will be a lot of effort required to build an environment that encompasses e-bikes amidst us. A lot of these efforts will be on regulatory, awareness and education.
Togoparts: Before we go, are there any last words you would like to say to Dahon’s fans in Singapore?
Dr Hon: Thank you for your support of Dahon. Keep riding and contribute to the greening of your city and own health. We are committed to work hard and bringing you better and more innovative products in the years to come.
To read up more abut Dahon bikes, do visit Dahon website: http://dahon.com/mainnav/home.html
Dahon folding bikes are distributed by :
Speedmatrix Pte Ltd
Blk 37 Jalan Rumah Tinggi #01-409
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday (12PM to 7PM) – Closed on Monday and Public Holidays
Plesae visit Speedmatrix webpage here: http://speedmatrix.com.sg/webtop/