Hong Kong Flooey disrupts Taipei bike expo

On 17th March, BikeBiz.co.uk asked 'Is it safe to travel to the Taipei show'? It probably is, but 'probably' isn't much of a prophylactic. On 24th March, BikeBiz carried the first 'come to Taiwan, all is safe' message from the organisers of the Taipei cycle trade show. Now, US trade mag BicycleRetailer reports that many Americans are not going to risk the journey because of worries about SARS, and the Shimano stand will be staffed largely by Taiwanese employees. Even EBMA's Brian Montgomery - a habitué of cycle shows around the world - has cancelled. However, most Brits pro-booked for the show are still planning to go, and are now expecting to have the show to themselves!
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BRAIN reports that many US companies have allowed their staff to decide on whether to fly to Taiwan or not.

"Some companies have decided to send a full complement, others to reduce attendance, and some to cancel altogether."

Carine Joannou, president of G. Joannou, the Jamis maker, told BRAIN:

"We don't want to risk any of our people, and it's not like we don't go to Taiwan with frequency."

However, SARS hasn't spooked SRAM: the Taipei show will see 10 SRAMers from the US and two from SRAM's European office.

"We consulted with our folks at our facilities in Taiwan and made sure everything was okay," Michael Zellmann, SRAM's public relations and media manager said on http://www.bicycleretailer.com

Many execs from Specialized have cancelled:

"They're postponing the trip. They can have the conversations they need later, or by another method," said Sandi Saenz, Specialized's executive secretary.

Tom Armstrong, Cannondale's communications manager, said the show could be a ghost-town:

"It's not so much the epidemic, as much as we're concerned that nobody else is going. We're hearing reports that not only our competitors but a lot of our vendors are pulling out, and we're worried it might not be worth the time away from the office and the expense."

Last week, BikeBiz reported that execs at Cycleurope were probably not going to go to the show, and BRAIN now reports that Cycleurope's Brian Montgomery of the Paris-based European Bicycle Manufacturers' Association is among those not planning to attend:

"I've decided not to go, and the company as a group has decided in a mutual decision not to go. There's hardly any way of going to Taipei from Europe that doesn't include Hong Kong."

Magura Germany has decided to cancel its Taipei show booth after researching which of its OEM customers were planning on still going to the show. Many of its US and European customers have decided not to travel, although few of its British customers had any such qualms.

And with less overseas visitors to the Taipei show, Brits are expecting to clean up. Mike Poyzer of Super Cycles said: "I'm still going. For once, I'll be able to make all my appointments and I'm sure a lot of time will be made for those who decided to go despite all the health scares."

http://www.taipeitradeshows.com.tw/.../cycle



For the latest info on SARS go to the World Health Organisation's website:

http://www.who.int/.../en

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