Mounting predictions of a possible invasion of Taiwan by China is one of several reasons folding bike pioneer Brompton is shifting parts of its supply chain away from those two countries, the company has revealed.
Additional global challenges such as Brexit, transportation through the Suez Canal and the impacts of Covid have all convinced Brompton to adjust and diversity its sources of supply, according to its CEO, Will Butler-Adams.
A recent report in UK newspaper, The Telegraph, suggested Brompton, the largest bicycle manufacturer in Britain, is among numerous western countries scrambling to “protect themselves from a possible invasion” of Taiwan.
Quotes from the CEO indicate Brompton is certainly concerned about the threat of invasion and what the article describes a “broader geopolitical rift with Beijing that some analysts have likened to a new Cold War”.
However, a subsequent statement from Brompton says that is just one of the motivations for the company to encourage its Taiwan-based suppliers to establish additional operations in other parts of Asia.
‘’Like many businesses we have faced a number of global challenges in recent years. From the COVID pandemic and Brexit to the Suez Canal, there has been regular macro strains put upon our business,” Will says in the statement.
“In light of that, we think it is sensible to introduce a number of mechanisms to safeguard against potential future risks – including having dual supply for some parts.
“For our business, we are now at a size where we are able to do this, and doing so is beneficial for a number of reasons, including navigating the ongoing impact of Covid.
“We’re looking at working with our existing suppliers to ensure that the supply chain is robust and that we can continue to meet demand.”
Brompton reached two massive milestones in 2022: selling its one millionth bike late last year and surpassing an annual turnover of £100 million (A$173 million) for the first time.
Brompton constructs its folding bikes in Britain, using parts sourced from Taiwan and China. It has unveiled plans to construct a new factory in Kent, which it hopes will be operational in 2027 and will take its potential production capacity to around 200,000 bikes a year.