ChinaCycle aftermath with Bicle - mini series - eps. #2

ChinaCycle aftermath, with Bicle - mini series - eps.2: An interview with Dr. David T. Hon, CEO DAHON Group.

Bicle was present at ChinaCycle 2018, looking for interesting and innovative stories from brands and exhibitors. And not so surprisingly we’ve spotted many of them, which we interviewed during this year’s edition. In the weeks after we will publish a couple of those interviews. To continue this mini series of interviews, we would like to proceed with Dr. David T. Hon, CEO DAHON Group. Bicle asked him about his brand, latest developments and the future.

But before we dive into that, let us first focus on DAHON, because it is not just an average bike manufacturer. Obviously, we all know the brand - so let’s not repeat that - but do you also know its philosophy? At DAHON they state that their ‘’philosophy holds that a truly green product is one that is not disposable but is well made, and designed to bring its owner many years of enjoyable use.’’ Complementing this vision is Dr. Hon’s unrelenting urge to innovate. Even before the latest folding bike hits the market, he is already looking for ways to improve it. This innovative urge does not limit itself to the products, but is implemented in the company’s culture. This leads to many innovative ways of working and trend breaking ideas.

Dr. Hon himself has a background in the aerospace industry and saw an opportunity to create his own folding bike company, together with his younger brother Henry. When Bicle asked Dr. Hon what makes DAHON unique, he replied that they are ‘’the oldest and biggest folding bike specialist. We started the company about 35 years ago. Moreover, we are well known worldwide, due to our high quality and technology standards; we have 350 patents on folding bikes mostly.’’

With Dr. Hon’s knowledge and vision, DAHON keeps on developing. One of the latest products they launched is the Curl, which was also the company’s first Kickstarter project. At ChinaCycle, the NuWave concept was debuted, with the idea not to be as small, but as flat as possible. According to Dr. Hon it is not necessary to be small, but it is more logical to be flat instead. The reason behind this is as follows:

We wanted to have a change of trend. Our NuWave technology is not about to being as small, but is about being as flat as possible. Because you can store it behind the door, take it into public transport. It’s also easier to push and pull than a regular folding bike. The NuWave technology can turn every big or small wheel bike into a compact 15cm wide flat pack. It is also lighter and easier to construct, and very stiff.

In order to keep on innovating and to stay ahead of the competition, the DAHON group is also investing in other trends: e-folding bikes and, more interestingly, LEVs. DAHON has a futuristic vision when it comes to e-mobility, and it won’t be foldable. What Dr. Hon noticed is that adjacent industries are looking at the bicycle industry in order to see if there is any collaboration possible. What we can say is that the interests are mutual.

Let’s talk about another big disruptor in the bicycle industry: e-commerce. Dr. Hon states that ‘’the internet business is coming up strong and hurting or helping business in general.’’ Whether it’s helping or not, e-commerce is only growing stronger and surely there to stay. So, whatever industry you’re in, adapting is mandatory. Unfortunately, the bicycle industry is not always reacting as quickly as desirable. DAHON, however, anticipated fairly quickly by setting up their own online Omni channel marketing business:

We started an internet company 3 to 5 years ago in China, and it is doing quite well. We integrated that into an international concept, and implemented that further into an Omni channel marketing strategy (OCM). OCM on a global basis would mean a lot of increase in online and offline activities, and to cut out the discounters. Our products are being sold by a very large number of online sellers (B2C), but mostly unauthorized. So we want to clean them up so that our distributors can manage their channels and network better.

This vision shows that DAHON is planning ahead. Its strategy is to adapt to and anticipate the future by looking further than its own industry. Finding crossovers with inspiring and innovating business solutions in adjacent industries is not only the direction DAHON sets out. Bicle also strongly believes in this vision in order to not only survive, but to change this industry in a sustainable manner.

To learn more about interesting brands, stay tuned to this mini-series called ChinaCycle aftermath with Bicle to get to know other fascinating stories from the brands we talked with at ChinaCycle 2018.