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3.7 Trek Bicycle Goes Global (Objs. 1, 3, and 5)

Despite doping, in winning the Tour de France seven times, Lance Armstrong brought international prestige to Waterloo, Wisconsin. That is the home of Trek Bicycle, manufacturer of the superlightweight carbon bikes Armstrong has ridden to victory over the years. The small town of Waterloo (population 2,888) is about the last place you would expect to find the world’s largest specialty bicycle maker. Trek started its global business in a red barn smack in the middle of Wisconsin farm country. It employs 1,500 people in Waterloo and serves 2,000 stores in the United States alone and 4,000 dealers worldwide in 65 countries. Nearly 50 percent of the sales of the high-tech bicycles come from international markets. Future sales abroad look promising as Trek expands into Chinese and Indian markets. In Asia, bicycles are still a major means of transportation. To accommodate domestic and international consumers, Trek maintains a busy international website. Enter the search term Trek Bicycle. Also, visit Trek Bicycles’ Facebook fan page.

Like many companies, Trek encountered problems in conducting intercultural transactions. For example, in Mexico, cargo was often pilfered while awaiting customs clearance. In Singapore a buyer balked at a green bike helmet, explaining that when a man wears green on his head it means his wife is unfaithful. In Germany, Trek had to redesign its packaging to reduce waste and meet environmental requirements. Actually, the changes required in Germany helped to bolster the company’s overall image of environmental sensitivity Your Task. Based on principles you studied in this chapter, name several lessons that other entrepreneurs can learn from Trek’s international experiences.113



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