Domestic Electric Two-wheeler Manufacturers Making Inroad Into The ASEAN Market -Four Major Competitors
There is no doubt that the ASEAN market will become one of the main targets of the domestic electric two-wheeler enterprises in 2023. In the general trend of transforming mobility from fuel to electric vehicles, as the world’s main motorcycle market, it has naturally become the focus of global electric two-wheel manufacturers. Looking at the current situation, Vietnam, Indonesia and several other countries plagued by motor vehicle exhaust pollution have been actively promoting the gradual elimination of motorcycles. But because of the huge overall motorcycle base and too much impact on people, this will not be a very fast process.
But for domestic electric two-wheeler brands, this is an unmissable opportunity.
From the perspective of major global market areas, although there are relatively many blank areas, it is not easy to achieve deep occupation. For example, the European and American markets have a high threshold and do not accept outside products easily. At the same time, there are many transforming well-known local auto and motorcycle brands, or pure electric brands with high market recognition, such as the off-road electric motorcycle brand CAKE. The Korean and Japanese markets, for example, are almost wasteland for domestic brands, with little chance to penetrate.
Relatively speaking, the ASEAN market is not only closer to China, which can be quickly reached by land and sea transportation. In addition, the RCEP will help further clear the obstacles on the way to ASEAN. It seems all good news. There are many cross-border enterprises preparing domestic electric two-wheelers to enter the ASEAN market, and we can hear relevant local news from time to time. But actually, the ASEAN market is not so easy to “conquer“, especially when there are four major rivals being a a lion in the way.
First, the “unbeatable” Honda. Honda has a monopoly in the ASEAN motorcycle market, accounting for 12 million of the 17 million motorcycles sold in Southeast Asia in 2021, with Yamaha accounting for almost all of the rest.
In the ASEAN market, Honda has very complete production, channels and user base. Owning a Honda motorcycle is almost a consensus of the families in this region. In addition, Honda officially stated last year that it would make full efforts in developing electric products and directly compete with Chinese brands. It is expected that the ASEAN market will become the starting point of Honda’s electrification and its main battlefield with Chinese brands.
Second, in India. TVS, BAJAJ, OLA (an Internet giant, which has bought a famous European motorcycle brand), and a number of local startups are moving towards electrification. In terms of products, India’s electric motorcycle industry covers all high, middle and low-end products. At the same time, it is exploring the construction of intelligent battery swapping ecosystem, which is almost a complete comparison with the structure of domestic electric two-wheel vehicle industry.
Considering that India, as the biggest competitor of the domestic motorcycle industry in middle and low-end products, is expected to continue to be a rival in the electric field in the future. Especially in South Asia, India is expected to become the third force in the ASEAN market besides China and Japan.
Third, Taiwan. First of all, we must emphasize that Taiwan belongs to China. But overseas, the competition exists. Based on Gogoro’s swapping platform, there are many local electric two-wheeler brands in Taiwan. Although the local market is small, it has a strong accumulation in product development and battery/motor/electric control technologies, and it has started to explore the ASEAN electric two-wheeler market early. In particular, the Gogoro swapping technology is highly respected in Southeast Asia.
Fourth, local brands. According to statistics, the number of electric motorcycle brands in Southeast Asia has increased significantly in 2022, although few of them have real mass production capacity. They are mostly starting from prototype design studios and have released a number of distinctive commuter products. It is not surprising that local brands want to rise. At present, some countries have made it clear that they will build a localized electric two-wheeler industry chain, and focus on supporting the development of local brands.
From the story of the domestic motorcycles in the Southeast Asia market, they entered the market with high cost performance products, but later gradually suppressed by Honda due to product quality. Their factories they set up in Southeast Asia have been either transformed into contract manufacturing bases for exporting to Europe and America, or almost shut down. Or they could only explore the lower-level markets uncovered by Japanese brands: customers mainly concentrated in the B-end vehicle-sharing field for take-out delivery, almost no chance to access the high-quality individual consumption market.
In fact, although the overall income of local users is low, due to frequent use, they have high requirements for the quality and performance of vehicles. We hope that domestic electric two-wheeler brands will not just focus on rapidly taking the market by price strategy, or they will suffer because of quality problems one or two years later and finally be abandoned by users, just like the case of motorcycles.