February 17, 2012

Bike firm signs Japan export deal

Social firm Zambike which manufactures bamboo-framed bicycles has signed an export deal with FIG bikes of Japan aimed at enhancing its export market and sustaining the market for the bicycles. A bicycle shop in Tokyo's Harajuku District has already started selling the bikes with bamboo frames made in Zambia exported by Zambikes on pilot project basis, local media reports.

Zambikes director Dustin McBride said in Lusaka his company had started exporting the bamboo-framed bicycles to Japan adding that the first consignment was dispatched in January. Mr McBride said that the agreement would further boost it business and expand its exports base on international markets to improve market access. "We have started exporting the bamboo-framed bicycles to Japan, so far, we have exported 25 and it's worth noting that they have been welcomed on that market.

"In a bid to grow our international business, we will soon sign another agreement with the United Kingdom partner who will also be distributing our products on that market," he said. Zambikes will put in place measures to transform its business and the manufacturing sector has a whole by expanding the industrial base andincrease sales on both the local and international markets. He said the measure put in place would help expand the export base, especially with the signing of other export agreements.

The Japanese media quotes Takaya Fukuda, sales department manager at the bicycle shop as saying that FIG bike's Harajuku branch earlier this month began selling the unique Zambikes produced by Zambikes established by Americans and local people in Lusaka in 2006. The venture firm was set up to create jobs for citizens of Zambia, whose unemployment rate is estimated to range from around 50 to 80 percent. The company has created more than 100 jobs and in the past five years has turned out more than 10,000 bicycles as well as more than 1,000 emergency bicycles used for transporting patients to doctors.

The bicycle frames are constructed from tough bamboo grown behind a Zambikes' factory, and they are bound using sisal -- tough cord made from plant fibre soaked in epoxy. The frames are processed to make them waterproof. (Times of Zambia)

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