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Wuxi e-tricycle maker motivated by viral videos

Updated: Feb 2, 2024 Print
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An electric motorcycle manufacturer in Wuxi, East China's Jiangsu province said it was inspired by the news that its tricycle had become a town's sensation in the United States.

"This is beyond our expectations, knowing that our product has brought so much fun to an American family," said Qin Xiaoming, a manager with Jiangsu Guowei Motorcycle.

"I guess they'd never seen this stuff before," he said. "It's easy to drive. It can carry cargo and people. And it requires no gasoline at all. These features combined make them excited."


Workers assemble an electric tricycle at a factory in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, January 26. [Photo/]

The Guowei tricycle was ordered online by Chinese woman Wu Bo in December as a Christmas gift for her father-in-law in the US town of Dearborn, Michigan.

The $600 electric vehicle, with its zippy maneuvering and an open cargo bed, captured immediate attention in the neighborhood, enticing local residents to take it for a test ride.

Its popularity snowballed after Wu recorded the ensuing joyride footage and shared it across various social media platforms in China.

The viral videos have amassed tens of millions of views and resonated with netizens, prompting enthusiastic suggestions for overseas business expansion.

"What good fortune it is for Guowei! They definitely must cash in on it," commented an internet user with the handle Wenzhongzhou.

The manufacturer is keenly aware of the vast opportunities made possible on a global scale by this sudden surge in popularity. In fact, according to Ni Xiaofeng, general manager of Guowei, the number of online orders from the US since January has nearly tripled previous levels.

"Those videos gave us lots of confidence. We can see huge potential ahead, because two and three-wheeled electric motorcycles will remain a low-carbon option for short-distance commuting in the foreseeable future," he said.


Workers assemble an electric tricycle at a factory in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, January 26. [Photo/]

Ni revealed that his company, now in its 23th year in Wuxi's Xishan district, has strategized overseas plans from more than a decade ago and has established solid sales networks in over 80 countries and regions. Guowei is a constant participant in domestic and global industrial exhibitions and trade fairs.

The company's next step going forward is to enhance its localization efforts, including building factories overseas and studying diversified safety and quality regulations in targeted markets, he added.

The viral tricycle videos again underscore the importance of social media, argued Fang Guoming, a manager with the Wuxi Sunlike Import and Export Co. "As a professional in this industry I suggest you never underestimate the significant role that social media plays."

Dubbed the Chinese capital of electric motorcycles, Xishan is home to tens of thousands of electric motorcycle makers. Official figures show that more than 22 million EM units rolled off the line here in 2022, accounting for around one third of the nation's annual output and generating some 66 billion yuan ($9.2 billion) in revenue.

More local players have responded to the nation's call of "going out" in recent years, according to Shen Yu, secretary-general of the Xishan District Electric Vehicle Foreign Trade Association. He estimated that the national average growth of EM exports in 2023 reached 20 percent despite a sluggish global economy.

In Xishan alone, more than 160 motorcycle makers are exporting their products and opening brand stores in over 140 countries and regions, he added.

Among them is Ishtiaq Ahmed, a Bangladeshi EM enthusiast and entrepreneur. Previously working within a larger EM enterprise, he is now harnessing the expertise he has obtained in China to create his own brand.

"According to my couple of years of experience in this industry, I would say that China is dominating this industry pretty well due to its great supply chain and affordable prices."

Ahmed added that his team plans to locate their business in the Czech Republic, the most competitive region of Europe for the majority of businesses, to provide excellent after-sales support.

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