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January 09, 2009

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I totally agree with you. "How" is one of the most important things. But, usually, we cannot see it in other manufacturers because they do not have a close relationship with the customer directly. I think there are some reasons. One of them is that most manufactures employ mass production. They always have to have general ideas (highest common factor), not for individual. I believe the way of idea of mass production was already over. At least, as a customer, I want to know "how" and "the faces" in the factory, if I buy something. I do not buy a thing, but buy the suitable value of the thing.

Dear Mr. Vandermarke,
Thanks for this informative and inspiring article.
You said that "China is not as focused on the "how" yet." I kind of agree.
From that perspective, generally speaking, how about Taiwan?
Thanks.


Bill
a rider based in Taiwan

Bill: Thanks for the question. Sorry for being slow to respond. Ironically, it's the Taipei trade show season so that's my excuse for being slow :) I think your question would be a good topic on which to post. My brief answer is that my experience with Taiwan is very different than China. Although, since you live in Taiwan, it would be great to learn your experience. I think Taiwan as a country is focusing a lot more on the 'how' than China. And, I think there are some cultural elements that impact the 'how' thinking in very different ways than US thinking--not better or worse but very different. I'll post something and then maybe we can talk more?

I appreciate so much your time and willingness to give such a concise answer. As a matter of fact, I do not have much understanding on how manufacturers make their frames in Taiwanese factories, although a friend's friend served as General Manager of C-Tech, GIANT's carbon fiber arm.
While I 100% agree with the idea that geographical locations do not by itself translate into superior or inferior prodocts, I am quite confident in "Made-in-Taiwan" quality when compared with commodities cranked out from China, just like other OEM/ODM consumer goods. And that difference indeed has much to do with cultural, social, economic, and even political backgrounds.
There's recently been a burgeoning local brand beginning to make and sell steel and titanium bikes here in Taiwan. I am not sure how they measure up in the five "how" criteria you proposed here, which I think make great sense when it comes to how we value a bike. I hope that this new brand performs well.
Weeks ago, I built up a new road bike using a titanium frame from one of the most prestigous titanium houses(including your esteemed company, of course) in the States. Theoretically its ride quality would be entirely different from my previous aluminum alloy bike which was made in Taiwan. To be honest, though, I'm not sure if I really feel the improvement, while I believe it's there. Maybe that's partly because I'm not a sensitive kind of guy, and partly because I'm still quite a novice whose mileage is no more than 40,000km after 6 years of love affair with biking.
I hope oneday to have the chance to get fit by SEVEN and lay my hands on your legendary ride. Also, I'm looking forward to reading more of your thoughts on this topic in the future.

Best Regards
Bill

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