Taiwan's 2001 gross domestic product dipped for the first time ever, down by nearly 2 percent, according to official data released on Friday last week. Even without the failure of GT/Schwinn - Taiwanese companies were stung - the Taiwanese bike trade would still be sharing the country's economic doom and gloom.

Taiwan’s GDP in freefall (but may bounce back)

A statement from Taiwan’s Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said:

"Taiwan’s external trade was severely hurt by the global slump and the September attacks. Domestic demand was also undermined by record unemployment and falling share prices in mid-year.

Exports slumped by 17.1 percent to $122.90 billion.

Taiwan’s jobless rate for 2001 grew by 4.6 percent thanks to business closures and downsizing amid slowing demand which is very noticeable in the Taiwanese bike trade.

Almost 5200 Taiwanese factories shut their doors in 2001, some of them bike trade factories, not all of which had migrated to the Chinese mainland.

However, there are signs the slowdown in the Taiwanese economy has hit rock bottom and is on the rise again.

DGBAS said Taiwan’s GDP in fourth quarter fell 1.87 percent, a marked improvement from an earlier estimate of a 2.68 percent drop. DGBAS believes 2002 will be better and is predicting 2.29 percent in GDP growth.

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