Philippines among new key markets for Taiwan’s Kwang Yang Motor Co. Ltd.

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star

TOKYO, Japan—Taiwanese motorcycle giant Kwang Yang Motor Co. Ltd. (Kymco) is set to boost its operations in Southeast Asia following its strong drive into Europe, with the Philippines seen as among the most important markets in the region for its growth strategy.

“We are relatively small in Southeast Asia.  We are stronger in Europe, but our next phase, our next stage will focus on Southeast Asia especially now that we are aggressively developing scooters,” Kymco Group chairman Allen Ko said in an interview here.

“I think we still have a lot of potential in the Philippines, that’s how I feel,” he said.

Southeast Asia is a very attractive market for Kymco to grow its brand moving forward because its cities are very congested, Ko said.

“Even though some of the governments are not very aggressive promoting electric scooters, they are actually looking for solutions (for the congestion and pollution). We meet certain officials from certain countries and they usually ask if we have good solutions for electric scooters. Actually, they are preparing for this so we are quite optimistic with the new Ionex. We have a very good chance to grow the market in Southeast Asia,” Ko said.

Kymco on Thursday unveiled the Ionex, a new electric vehicle solution that includes electric scooters and public charging infrastructure.

Ko said Kymco plans to capitalize on its new Ionex system to penetrate a bigger market in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines.

“As far as I know, the governments everywhere in the world these days they are really looking for the solutions for congestions and pollutions in the cities. Sooner or later combustion engines will be phased out. But, of course, in different parts of the world, the progress for electric transformation is different. In Kymco’s point of view, we can still manufacture the gasoline powered scooter for the next 10 to 20 years,” he said.

Ko said Kymco hopes to introduce its new Ionex solution to the Philippines as early as next year.

“I think we have a pretty good brand name in the Philippines and we have been there for quite a long time. We just need to find the right product to penetrate the market,” he said.

Ko admitted, however, that Kymco continues to lag behind other motorcycle brands in the Philippines, which is why it is keen on strengthening its presence in the country.

“Yes we are currently behind, that is why we need to work harder,” he said.

“For the Philippines, we will work hard for this market although it is still very hard to compete with Honda and Yamaha, but we have several ideas. Motorcycle is a very big market in the Philippines,” added Kymco Group vice president for overseas development Leon Wu.

Last year, Wu said Kymco sold 15,000 units in the Philippines, accounting for only 1.2 percent of total industry sales.

Given the importance and potential of the Philippine market for the group, Wu said Kymco wants to more than double its current market share in the country by 2020.

“I hope in three years we can reach three percent market share in the Philippines,” he added.

Kymco is one of the leading global powersports brands, offering a product range that includes scooters, motorcycles, mobility scooters, ATVs and utility vehicles.

The company has an existing assembly plant in the Philippines that has a capacity to roll out between 20,000 to 30,000 units annually.

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