Posts Tagged: Cable Transit Industry



Chinese Knock-Offs?

Ski hills are great and all, but the market’s limited. We’re not building any more mountains (except in Dubai) and the mountains we do have are being adversely effected by global warming – at least when it comes to ski conditions.

That’s not much of a growth market.

The urban market, however, is virtually limitless.

A couple of years ago, humanity transitioned from being a rural species to an urban one. For the first time in history, there are more people living in cities than not and all trend analyses suggest that will only intensify in the near and long future.

Most of that shift towards the urban, meanwhile, has come in the developing world – the very market urban gondolas have become so popular in. So there’s every reason to suspect that the market for urban gondolas will continue to expand – if not explode.

The question then is, can the industry as it’s currently structured handle that coming demand? More importantly, do they even want to handle that coming demand? Maybe the industry’s plenty happy just building ski lifts for the next 50 years.

One way or another, the demand for urban gondolas will be there. And if the industry doesn’t step up to the plate and capitalize on it, someone else will.

Should the industry mistakenly not prepare for this coming expansion of demand, we’re likely to witness new competitors entering the fray. It’s simple economics. If existing supply doesn’t exist to match demand, someone else will fill that gap.

In all likelihood, those new competitors will come from Asia. So much of a cable system’s cost comes from the hyper-specialized labour involved in creating systems so you can be certain that Asian manufacturers will try to find a way to deskill that labour and drive the cost of the technology down.

That means cheap knock-offs. Which in turn means decreased attention to detail and safety standards. Which in turn means accidents are likely to become common where before they were rare.

Which will damage the reputation of the industry as a whole.

I suspect we’re in for a wild ride.

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