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Giant founder strives to 'be the only one, not the first one'

Giant founder strives to 'be the only one, not the first one'

Taipei, Dec. 3 (CNA) King Liu is known throughout Taiwan and around the globe as the founder of the world's largest bicycle manufacturer, Giant Bicycles. Not only is he a successful tycoon, the avid cyclist has biked the over 1,000-kilometer trek around Taiwan twice at the ripe ages of 73 and 79, and rode a bicycle the more-than-700 km from Beijing to Shanghai at the age of 75. With his achievements, it is only natural for people to considered him lucky. But in a new book dictated by the icon of successful homegrown manufacturing, the 80-year old says his life has been full of unexpected setbacks that he had to overcome. In the book, titled "To be the First, You Have to be the Only" (Mei You Wei Yi, Na You Di Yi), the tycoon who has vowed to change the world with bicycles says he began to known himself only at age 50, started understanding management only at 60, found an outlet for his passion only at 70, and began to feel that age is only a number at 80. Liu says in his book that all his life he has been striving to be the only one in all endeavors, and not just the first one, and he has relied solely on innovation to do so. He began his own business raising eels at the age of 35, but he was brought to the brink of bankruptcy when a typhoon destroyed his eel ponds. He subsequently founded Giant in 1972 as a contracted manufacturer of bicycles, where he struggled for three years to keep the new company from collapsing. Just when he was able to turn his company from running in the red to running in the black, a client whose order accounted for three-fourths of Giant's revenue suddenly stopped working with Liu's company. More miseries lied ahead, he says in the book. At the age of 63, Liu was diagnosed with gastric cancer and had to have half of his stomach removed, and then many of Taiwan's bicycle component makers moved overseas, causing Giant to lose nearly all of its suppliers overnight. At 73, Liu found himself plagued with sleep apnea, blood clots, and a slipped disc. Despite the obstacles, he decided it was time to ride around Taiwan on his own Giant bicycle in defiance of the opposition of every one of his family members and friends. During that trip, Liu shared his insights of life with students of schools in northern, central and southern Taiwan. The highlights of his 17-day round-the-island cycle are also recorded in a disc being sold along with his new book in the hopes that his insights can inspire a new audience to create their own futures. (By Esme Jiang and Maubo Chang)


Updated : 2021-09-22 00:23 GMT+08:00