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by Xinhua writers Liu Yanan, Huang Heng, Tan Jingjing
LAS VEGAS, United States, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Major Chinese construction equipment manufacturers are reinforcing their efforts to grow international business with the U.S. market as one of their priorities, according to industry insiders present at North America's largest construction trade show opened here on Tuesday.
Named CONEXPO-CON/AGG, the week-long trade show attracted over 150 Chinese exhibitors, or around 10 percent of the total.
Though Chinese construction equipment manufacturers made strides in overseas markets in the last few decades, record-making exports over the past two years and waning impacts of the pandemic prompt a new round of push for going global among the Chinese players.
The exports of Chinese construction equipment shrank 13.7 percent in 2020, but jumped 62.2 percent to 34 billion U.S. dollars in 2021 and 30.4 percent to 44.3 billion dollars in 2022, respectively, according to Shi Yonghong, vice president of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products.
The figure hit record highs in both 2021 and 2022 and would continue to grow in 2023 despite a slower pace, Shi told Xinhua.
Chinese construction equipment has relatively high market share worldwide and won acknowledgment from international clients, said Bruce Liu, general manager assistant with Zoomlion International.
"We hope to speed up the pace of going global and further expand the market through high quality products," he told Xinhua on Wednesday.
China-based heavyweight player Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group (XCMG) aims to increase its share of international business to 50 percent from 30 percent now, according to Liu Quan, chief executive officer with XCMG America.
"We're very optimistic about the overseas market, in particular the high-end markets in Europe and America, which is our priority for business expansion in the future," Liu Quan said in an interview with Xinhua on Tuesday.
Moreover, the XCMG would strive to integrate its operations on manufacturing, market and informationization across North America and South America in 2023 and 2024, said the CEO.
The firm has invited its dealers in both North America and South America to attend the trade show, taking the first step to integrate its business in the Americas, Liu Quan added.
Though the construction equipment industry is not booming in the last few years, Liugong had remarkable performance especially in the international market, according to Nocle Peng, branding and marketing manager with overseas business center of Guangxi Liugong Machinery Co., Ltd.
Liugong has over 30 percent of business coming from international markets with assembly plants in Brazil, Poland and India.
China-based tire maker Zhongce Rubber Group intends to proactively expand its overseas market with the help of innovations in designing and producing tires, said Teng Shan, sales manager with Hangzhou Yonggu Branch of Zhongce Rubber Group, adding the expo enables face-to-face talks with more global customers from South America and Europe.
U.S. MARKET AS GROWTH POINT
Major players from China attach high importance to the U.S. market and are trying to expand their operations to build a new growth point, according to insiders.
Sany Group, which set up a U.S. subsidiary as early as 2016, continues to expand its manufacturing team, dealers' network and investment in America.
The number of Sany America's dealers increased to 56, up from upper 40s three years ago; and Sany America's plant in Peachtree City, Georgia, employs over 200 people, up from around 80 in early 2020, according to Gabriel Weiss, director of marketing and digitization with Sany America.
"We've had excellent success in acquiring new dealers, expanding our dealer network, and building their business as well as Sany America's business," Weiss told Xinhua on Wednesday.
With over 30 years of history in the United States, the XCMG has built six service and spare part centers and developed over 20 dealers across the country. In 2014, it established a U.S. market research institute and recruited local technicians to design products for the North America market.
"The United States is XCMG's largest overseas market of construction machinery and we attach importance to the U.S. market," said Liu Quan, adding that the firm is mulling over a new plant in Atlanta, Georgia, in multiple phases with designed capacity of assembling around 2,000 to 3,000 machines each year.
Liu Quan said Chinese equipment manufacturers are competitive in the U.S. market though almost all brands in the industry have presence in the market. The bottom line is to supply reliable products, timely service and spare parts as well as information as a service.
The biggest strength of the XCMG now is the availability of products with a very good supply chain and the price point has been affordable to customers, said Loren Fehr, a dealer of the XCMG in Denver, Colorado.
Fehr sees plenty room for growth and expansion in the construction industry with always expanding infrastructure.
The expo offers a sound opportunity to crank up commitment to the U.S. market as the pandemic left an impact on operations in the last few years, said Bruce Liu.
Zoomlion plans to expand its operation in the United States including building a local team and introduction of more product lines, he said.
"We hope to make Zoomlion's operations in North America a growth point with high quality and sustainable development," as Zoomlion has formed sound systems of logistics and parts supply in North America since 2008, said Bruce Liu. ■