Giant Bicycles is a Taiwanese company that manufactures bicycles for other brands. Bicycle manufacturing is primarily based in Taiwan, with some production in China and Europe. Giant has factories in Taiwan (three), the Netherlands, and China (two). Their European output is about 10-12% of total annual production. Factory locations are selected primarily based on access to water and transportation. 
“Currently we’ve got about 200 staff making bikes at Giant, and next year we’ll be hiring another 50 or so,” says Fredrik Osterholm, marketing director of Giant’s parent company in Taiwan, Merida Industry Co. Ltd. “People come and go pretty quickly here. There’s quite a high turnover.”
The typical worker at Giant is 18 to 30 years old and earns an average of $340 per month, including bonuses. Some workers are bused in from surrounding provinces for the higher salaries available in the city, but many come from as far away as distant rural townships. Work hours can go as long as 12 hours per day, six days a week.
“It’s not uncommon for our workers to move from being a cleaner one day to a mechanic the next,” says Mr, Osterholm with a smile. “It can be quite challenging for them.”
Workers typically do not have any formal training but most have been in the industry for several years. They are trained on the job by other workers, many of whom have migrated to Taichung from rural areas in search of higher wages.
Taiwan’s bicycle industry started out making bikes at home and then expanded into China before moving into Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia. Over time, factories that sprawl across large plots of land was opened in Shenzhen, Dongguan, and Fuzhou in China’s Guangdong province. Giant has two factories there producing top-end models such as the $5,000 Trance X Advanced SL full-carbon road bike.
“I’ve been told that 98% of all bikes sold at Giant Bicycles stores nationwide are made in Taiwan,” Mr, Osterholm says. “The consumer would have a hard time telling if they’re from Taiwan or China, they’re that good.”
In the early days of Giant’s operations in China, most bicycles were made alongside other products such as toothbrushes and toys. These days many factories are dedicated to bicycle production only – including those owned by Giant – but for some small producers, it can be difficult to obtain a license for motorcycle parts manufacturing. This is not the case at Giant Bicycles’ factory in Shenzhen where some of its bikes, such as the new Trance X Advanced SL Disc full-carbon road bike (top photo) and new Reign Advanced 1 aluminum racing bike (both images above), are produced.