Nov.13 - London's fold-up bike company Brompton has had a surge in profits thanks to booming trade in Asia. Ciara Sutton reports
It's the fold-up bike that's revolutionised the daily commute for many. And now, London-based Brompton is pedalling its way into the Asian markets. Its total profits surged nearly 50% in past the year as commuters in crowded cities such as Seoul and Tokyo get the compact bike bug. PTC REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, CIARA SUTTON, SAYING: "Brompton's been in production for over 20 years and as it's become more popular the bike has become lighter and more robust. In London it's known as a commuter bike of choice, but there's now an increasing amount of leisure users." It recently opened its first shop in mainland China, targeting affluent areas of Shanghai, where cycling for fun is a growing pass time. Brompton's Asia Pacific marketing manager, Quinton Pullinger says success abroad is down to the bike's reputation as an item that holds its value. SOUNDBITE: BROMPTON'S MARKETING MANAGER - ASIA PACIFIC, QUINTON PULLINGER, SAYING: "We've kept our pricing the same as if we were exporting to any other country, we've paid our import duties and taxes, which does place the Brompton at higher price than in the UK. But still the sales are coming along and we believe that is the right way to move forward." International sales now make up 75 percent of the company's annual turnover, and it has no intention of putting the brakes on, with further Asian growth expected. SOUNDBITE: BROMPTON'S MARKETING MANAGER - ASIA PACIFIC, QUINTON PULLINGER, SAYING: "We've done our homework on India in the past. But India needs to improve its infrastructure, clear taxes and laws between states and provinces will help." While Brompton is reaping the benefits of growing Asian economies, Head of Market Economics at NAB Group, Tom Vosa says it might not be a sustainable move. SOUNDBITE: NAB GROUP, TOM VOSA, SAYING: "China and India will be growing at about 7.5-6% respectively but there are limits to that growth. Countries grow very quickly when they are poor but as they start to reach medium levels, it's the infrastructure that dictates whether they get to middle class status or not " Brompton's biggest growth market may be abroad, but it has no intention of moving its operations abroad. It says staying within its heritage is essential to the company's unique brand, and that losing London would be losing its story.