Weichai Group roars ahead with global expansion plans

By Yuan Shenggao| (China Daily )| Updated : 2018-12-11

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Weichai Group, the heavy-truck and components developer and manufacturer in Weifang Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone, has vowed to develop itself into a leading global company.

The company said on Dec 2, during its annual overseas dealers gathering, that it set a goal to report $100 billion in revenue in 2030, of which, half will be generated from overseas markets.

The gathering attracted nearly 1,000 business representatives from 57 countries and regions. Participants shared their opinions on how Weichai can more effectively bring its products to the world's markets so it can achieve its ambition to be an international industrial equipment production group with leading world-class technologies.

Alam, a Weichai dealer from the Indian state of West Bengal, revealed that Weichai has achieved 67 percent market share in the West Bengal's ship engine trade market because of the company's premium services, sufficient supply of components and wide distribution channels.

Alam said his partnership with Weichai started in 1992.

"We are members of the Weichai family and Weichai is like a guardian to us," Alam said.

"We want to make Weichai's products the most trustworthy in every market segment of the related industry."

After years of development, Weichai has developed an overseas expansion model which includes product exports, local production, technology exports and acquisitions.

In 2009, its subsidiary Weichai Power acquired French marine engine developer and producer Moteurs Baudouin.

In 2012, Weichai Power bought a 25 percent stake in German forklift-maker Kion Group and a 70 percent controlling stake in Kion's subsidiary, Linde Hydraulics. In the same year, Weichai purchased a majority stake in Italian yacht-maker Ferretti Group, to tap into the luxury yacht sector.

It has built production plants in India, Thailand and Belarus. It has also exported its advanced technologies to Ethiopia and Myanmar to support local industrial upgrades. It has also sped up expansion in regions such as Southeast Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. Its products are now being sold to 110 countries and regions, said the company.

Last year, Weichai reported 220 billion yuan ($31.98 billion) in sales revenue. Some 40 percent of that came from overseas markets and it is now a leading Chinese manufacturing brand in foreign markets, according to the company.

Weichai reported nearly 190 billion yuan in revenue for the first 10 months of 2018.

Kion's total number of orders increased 17 percent year-on-year in the first six months of 2018. Linde Hydraulics has also reported an outstanding performance, Weichai said.

Weichai's new plant, built along with Belarus' MAZ, in the China-Belarus Industrial Park, started trial operations on Nov 18.

Hu Haihua, general manager of MAZ-Weichai, said that construction of the new factory started in April. The builders overcame many problems to ensure the project was completed on time.

The MAZ-Weichai factory, with annual production capacity of 20,000 diesel engines, is the first diesel engine production project between China and Belarus, according to Weichai.

Apart from Belarus, Weichai also has an operations center in the Middle East.

It also established a partnership with companies such as German giant Bosch, UK group Ceres Power and Canada's Ballard Power and Westport, to strengthen its position in the new energy sector.

Tan Xuguang, chairman of the board of Weichai, said that the purpose of internationalization was not just to expand Weichai's operations to overseas markets. It was more about optimizing Weichai's business structure and improving any weakness, he said.

Tan said internationalization would help Weichai learn about advanced technologies and achieve high-quality development.

Weichai claimed that all its overseas acquisition projects have reported positive results.

In 2015, Weichai and Linde Hydraulics' jointly developed factory in Weifang started operations. A powertrain system which uses Weichai's engine and Linde Hydraulics' hydraulics system was produced in the factory and rapidly entered China's high-end engineering machinery and agricultural machinery sectors.

Kion, with support from Weichai, successfully acquired US-based logistics company Dematic for $2.1 billion in 2016. The deal allowed Weichai to develop a smart logistics industrial chain and further optimize its business structure.

In 2017, Kion's sales revenue was 7.7 billion euros ($8.73 billion), an increase of 37 percent year-on-year. The net profit was 430 million euros, up 73 percent on the previous year. Demotic made a significant contribution to Kion's growth, according to Kion.

Gordon Riske, CEO of Kion, said the partnership with Weichai was a successful example of cooperation between Chinese and German companies.