Courting Asian cycling business

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 1:55 PM

Mitch Shaw, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — Convincing Asian cycling companies to set up shop 7,000 miles away from home may be the key to Ogden’s future in the cycling business.

Mayor Mike Caldwell says the city’s aim is to turn Ogden into a North American cycling cluster, bringing an interconnected concentration of cycling businesses to the city — similar to the thriving Northern Utah aerospace industry.

The city already has several key cycling companies in full operation — including Tektro USA, Quality Bicycle Products, Scott Sports, ENVE Composites, and Amer Sports — and is also actively trying to recruit some big name Asian companies to relocate or set up satellite operations here in Ogden.

In early September, city officials brought in CEOs and other high-ranking officials from nearly 20 Asian cycling companies, hosting an event called, “A Scenic Tour of Utah.”

The 400-mile scenic bike ride was designed to showcase the natural beauties of Ogden, Weber County and Utah in general, while also selling the Asians on the benefits of bringing their business to Ogden.

In April, Caldwell and City Business Development Director Steve Fishburn spent a week in Taiwan, pitching Ogden’s viability to bike manufacturers there.

The city has spent the last several months building relationships with the companies, answering questions and sending specific lease space information for Business Depot Ogden, where most of the city’s current cycling companies reside.

“(We’re) looking at investment opportunities and for opportunities to expand (in Ogden),” said Louis Chuang, president of Topeak Cycling Accessories in Taiwan while visiting Ogden a few weeks ago. “I can tell that if we came here, we wouldn’t get bored. We enjoy this type of recreational environment.”

A cycling company in Asia might want to locate in Ogden for several reasons, he said.

“First of all, we have a unique mixture of elements. Any kind of cycling you can do, you can do it here.”

Caldwell also said the North American cycling industry is constantly expanding and there is money to be made here for the Taiwanese companies.

The people of Taiwan and other areas in Asia think of cycling as a way to get from point A to point B, and are not consumed with the latest and greatest in technology, Caldwell said.

But in the United States, “you have bike geeks who don’t blink an eye at spending $3,000 on a carbon-fiber wheel set,” he said.

Contact reporter Mitch Shaw at 801-625-4233 or Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.

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