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20 Things You Didn't Know about Kymco

Kymco is a Taiwanese manufacturer of motor vehicles. However, its products are not limited to Taiwan. Instead, they are sold in countries situated throughout the world. On the whole, Kymco has been a successful as shown by the fact that it has been in operation since 1963. Here are 20 things that you may or may not have known about Kymco:

1. Kymco Stands for Kwang Yang Motor Co, Ltd.

Kymco is short for Kwang Yang Motor Co, Ltd. In turn, this is a rough approximation of its Chinese name, with the Kwang Yang meaning something along the lines of "light ray."

2. Kwang Yang Is Sometimes Written As Guang Yang

Sometimes, people might see Kwang Yang rendered as Guang Yang. This is because there isn't a single romanization system for the Chinese language but rather a number of them. As a result, the same thing can be written in different ways because it is romanized in different ways under different romanization systems. The situation can be particularly confusing in Taiwan because it hasn't settled on a single romanization system, which hasn't been helped by the fact that the issue is very much tied-up with local politics. Never mind the people who go out of their way to use more obscure romanization systems that in some cases are literally idiosyncratic.

3. Based In Kaohsiung

Kymco's headquarters can be found in Kaohsiung, which is one of Taiwan's special municipalities. While it might not be particularly well-known on the international stage, Kaohsiung is one of the biggest cities in Taiwan, which is why it is home to around 2.77 million people. This is without considering measurement by area, which would make Kaohsiung the biggest of Taiwan's cities. Regardless, while Kymco has its headquarters situated in Kaohsiung, it has some of its production facilities situated there as well.

4. Has Production Facilities in Jakarta

Besides Kaohsiung, Kymco has some of its production facilities in Jakarta as well. This should be a familiar name for a lot of people out there, seeing as how it is not just the capital of Indonesia but also the biggest of its cities. As a result, it is a natural choice for production facilities for a business that wants to sell its products in Indonesia, which is a huge market. For context, Indonesia is home to 264 million people, who represent a sizable market with plenty of potential for those that can tap into it.

5. Has Production Facilities in Petaling Jaya

Speaking of which, Kymco has some of its production facilities in Malaysia as well. In this case, its production facilities are situated in a place called Petaling Jaya, which started out as a settlement that was meant to reduce some of the over-population problems of Kuala Lumpur. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Petaling Jaya managed to become an important place in its own right, with an excellent example being how it is home to a number of government departments because of its close location to the Malaysian capital.

6. Has Production Facilities in Shanghai

Given its size, it should come as no surprise to learn that Kymco has production facilities meant for the Chinese market as well. For example, it has production facilities in Shanghai, which has been important for centuries and centuries because of its strategic location as a port. As a result, it is no coincidence that Shanghai has benefited much from the economic rise of China, so much so that there are those who see it as the showcase of said phenomenon. With that said, it is important to note that this is true for a fair amount of the Chinese coast, whereas more inland locations in said country have not fared as well.

7. Has Production Facilities in Changsha

Besides Shanghai, Kymco also has production facilities in Changsha, which is one of the most notable cities in south central China. In part, this is because Changsha is old, so much so that the first mention of it in written texts pops up in the 11th century BC, meaning that it has played numerous roles throughout Chinese history. However, it should also be noted that it is an important link in the modern Chinese economy not just because of its manufacturing but also because of the transportation links that enable it to send its manufactured products throughout the country.

8. Has Production Facilities in Chengdu

On top of this, Kymco has production facilities in Chengdu, which is the capital of the Chinese province of Sichuan. In short, it is one of the most populous cities in western China, which combines with its pleasing surroundings and its strong economic roots to make it one of the most important cities in the entire country as well. With that said, it is interesting to note that Sichuan province was actually notorious for its geographical defenses in ancient times, which enabled it to serve as home to a number of states over the course of Chinese history.

9. Manufactures a Number of Motor Vehicles

In the present day, Kymco manufactures a number of motor vehicles, meaning that it isn't limited to a single product line but can still benefit from the expertise and experience that it has managed to accumulate over the course of its operations. Said motor vehicles are ATVs, motorcycles, and motor scooters.

10. Best Known for Scooters

With that said, Kymco might be best-known to most people out there because of its role in manufacturing scooters. For people who are confused about the exact line of separation between motor scooters and other motor vehicles, motor scooters are essentially motorcycles with two very distinctive features, with one being a step-through frame and the other being a platform where the rider can put their feet. With that said, it is critical that people don't mistake the motor scooter for what is called either a kick scooter or a push scooter, which are powered by the user's feet. Furthermore, the motor scooter should not be mistaken for the motorized scooter, which is a stand-up scooter that is powered by either a gas engine or an electric engine.

11. Started Out Because of Honda

Once upon a time, Kymco started up because of Honda. In short, Honda was popular, so much so that it needed companies to produce components for it. As a result, before Kymco became Kymco, it was one of these facilities, meaning that it picked up a fair amount of expertise and experience from the partnership that would eventually help it make the transition into becoming a manufacturer of motor vehicles in its own right. Before that point though, it was considered to be one of Honda's better suppliers from overseas.

12. Retained a Relationship with Honda

Sometimes, suppliers that make the transition into becoming full-fledged motor vehicle manufacturers have poor relationships with the motor vehicle manufacturers that they used to sell parts to. This wasn't the time with Kymco. Instead, the two companies didn't just retain a relationship but also built up upon it, as shown by how Honda actually increased its stake in Kymco by becoming one of its biggest shareholders. Suffice to say that isn't a decision that is made lightly by businesses, meaning that it says a great deal about the relationship between the two.

13. Bought Back Interest in 2003

With that said, Kymco bought back Honda's interest in its operations in 2003. This happened because it wanted to take a more independent path than what it had pursued in the past, which could be seen in how it had been taking tentative steps in that direction for some time by that point. Regardless, Kymco's choice in buying Honda's interest in its operations meant that it could going its own way, which it promptly did by starting to develop its own brand in various markets situated all around the world.

14. Took Some Time to Build Up

Having said this, it took some time for Kymco to build up its operations. For example, it started producing its first motorcycle in 1964, which was the C200 that lasted until 1968. However, while its earlier models were successful enough to keep it running, they were no means the kind of successes that one would expect from major players in the motor vehicle industry. As a result, it wasn't until 1990 and 2008 that Kymco managed to make a model called the Hao Mai 125 that managed to sell more than one million units over its lifespan on the motor vehicle market.

15. Millionth Production Unit Was in 1983

However, even if Kymco didn't get a model that was capable of selling more than a million units until 1983, it wasn't as though it hadn't been able to get a lot of sales until that point in time. For proof, look no further than the fact that Kymco had reached the milestone of producing a million units in its production facilities in 1983, which would have been well before the launch of the Hao Mai 125. Considering the number of motor vehicle manufacturer that manage to reach this kind of milestone, this mean that while Kymco might not have been one of the major players, it was nonetheless not something that could be casually overlooked.

16. Visited by President Chiang Ching-Kuo in 1979

Kymco's website mentions a time when President Chiang Ching-Kuo visited its production facilities in 1979. For those who are unfamiliar with the name, Chiang Ching-Kuo was the son of Chiang Kai-Shek as well as the second President of the Republic of China. With that said, he lived in very tumultuous times, which is why he had a number of what one might call very awkward experiences. For example, he became very interested in communism when he was studying in the Soviet Union, having developed a particular interest in Trotskyism that resulted in Stalin ordering him to denounce that particular branch of communism following the Great Purge. Likewise, there was the time when his father purged his party of both communists and other leftists before kicking out his Soviet advisers, which is why Chiang Ching-Kuo ended up getting sent to a steel plant in the Urals where he met his future wife.

17. The Visit Would've Occurred in Shaky Times

Chiang Ching-Kuo is a very complicated figure. For a very long time, he maintained the authoritarianism of his father, but ultimately, he winded up becoming the one to loose political controls, meaning that his was an important step on Taiwan becoming a democracy. Besides, he was responsible for reforming Taiwan's economy, which suggests that the Kymco visit was a part of his efforts in this regard. Something that was particularly important because the USA stopped recognizing Taiwan as the legitimate government of China in December of 1978, which was very much a serious blow.

18. Current Chairman Is Allen Ko

The current Chairman of Kymco is a man named Allen Ko, who rose to the position in the 50th anniversary of the corporation in 2014. He is an excellent example of a high-ranking leadership who rose through the ranks, seeing as how he started up in the computer center where he worked on developing IT capabilities for the sales segment before beginning his climb.

19. Ko Is Said to Have First-Hand Experience

On a related note, the marketing materials for Kymco claim that Ko has first-hand experience with the kind of products that it produces. In short, Ko is said to have become a motorcycle enthusiast when he was still young, so much so that he took courses on both motorcycle repair and motorcycle maintenance. These skills would serve him well when he proceeded to participate in racing clubs, which was in addition to his part-time work in auto repair shops.

20. Has More than One Billion Annual Revenue

Regardless, Kymco has come a long way from its beginnings. The best evidence for this particular claim is the fact that in the present day, it can claim more than one billion measured in U.S. dollars when counted on an annual basis. Something that isn't drawn from a single market but rather from its presence in various markets situated all around the world, which have been developed over the course of years and years.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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