Giant began in 1972 in Taichung. Its big breakthrough came in 1977 when it signed a deal with Schwinn Bicycle Company of Chicago to make bikes as an OEM (original equipment manufacturer); they were made by Giant but not sold under the Giant name. It was a time when bicycle sales were rocketing in the US and, when the workers at Schwinn’s Chicago plant went on strike in 1980, Giant was making two thirds of Schwinn bikes; those two thirds amounted to 75 percent of Giant’s sales.
In 1987, Schwinn transferred their bicycle manufacturing to the China Bicycle Company in Shenzhen and Giant decided it had become large enough to sell its own brand worldwide. The company set up a joint venture with a Dutch bicycle manufacturer and subsequently bought its Dutch partner out.
Giant sells to more than 12,000 retail stores in more than 50 countries. For the last year for which figures are available (2012) the company sold 6.3 million bicycles for a total of US$1.8 billion.
Giant classifies its bikes by user and level; user is either Men, Women or Youth and levels are:
X-Road bikes are not broken down by user and the same model is available for both men and women, while BMX bikes are for the Youth user category.
Levels are broken down further by use: Race; Endurance; City; Cruiser; and others.