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Business Words in the News
Friday 12 July 2002
Vocabulary from the business news. Listen to and read the report then find explanations of difficult words below.

  bicycles in china
China bike giant in red
Summary: One of China' s major bicycle manufacturers has said it expects to post a loss for the first half of this year. The Shenzhen China Bicycle Company used to be the world's largest bike exporter. But its problems have become a symbol for an industry that's facing tough times. This report from Francis Markus.
The News Listen  
  The bicycle used to be undisputed king of the road in China. Just a decade or two ago, bikes formed the bulk of the traffic in most places, along with trucks and buses and the occasional cab. But times have become hard for what used to be an industry with a captive market. Millions of private cars and taxis now compete for space with the two wheelers on the country's roads. There's more and more competition in the Chinese market from foreign manufacturers. And there's a glut of bicycles at the cheaper end of the market, which is what China's bike makers have traditionally focused on. Shenzhen China Bicycle Company, based just across the border from Hong Kong is one of the biggest casualties. From being the world's top bicycle exporter it's become one of the biggest loss makers of any listed Chinese company and it could face suspension from the Shenzhen stock exchange. It may be too late for it to follow other Chinese bike makers in seeking different survival strategies. The firm which makes one of the most popular brands, Flying Pigeon, has formed an alliance with a Japanese bicycle maker. Other Chinese manufacturers have diversified into making bowling equipment or the tourism industry. Last year China still produced about half the world's output of bicycles. But with the twin pressures of entry into the World Trade Organisation and the competition from more modern forms of transport, it could become ever more of an uphill struggle for China's bike manufacturers.

Francis Markus, BBC, Shanghai

The Words Listen
  the bulk of
most of

  a captive market
in a captive market consumers do not have the choice to buy from different suppliers

  a glut of bicycles
there are so may bikes that they cannot all be sold

  one of the biggest casualties
one of the largest firms to suffer in the changed market conditions

a listed company has its shares reported on the stock exchange

  it could face suspension
there is a risk that it could be stopped from trading on the stock exchange for a while

an alliance is a group of companies which work together for the same aim

  half the world's output of bicycles
half of the bicycles built each year in the whole world

  twin pressures
two things are making them change

  it could become ever more of an uphill struggle
it could get increasingly difficult

  Read more about this story  

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