Sinotruk drives Central Asian growth
Visitors check Sinotruk's vehicles displayed at a construction and machinery exhibition in Russia in June.
China National Heavy Duty Truck Group Co, the country's largest heavy duty truck exporter, is eyeing up fresh opportunities from the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiatives and is striving to make a breakthrough in the Central Asian market, said company executives.
"Sinotruk will embrace new opportunities of cooperation with Central Asian countries as the country pushes forward the Belt and Road strategy," the company chairman Ma Chunji told China Daily.
The Belt and Road Initiative was put forward by President Xi Jinping during his visits to Kazakhstan and Indonesia in 2013.
Founded in 1956, Sinotruk produced the first heavy-duty truck of the People's Republic of China in 1960.
In 2007, Sinotruk was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In 2009, it established a long-term strategic partnership with German truck maker MAN, with the latter buying 25 percent of its shares for $783.5 million. Sinotruk obtained a range of advanced technologies, including engine technology, from its German partner.
Sinotruk boasts four brands - Sitrak, Howo, Steyr and Hohan - that cover more than 3,000 vehicle types, the most among any Chinese truck maker, according to the company.
In 2014, Sinotruk exported 34,000 vehicles, accounting for nearly 20 percent of its total sales, according to statistics from the General Administration of Customs. The company's export revenue surpassed 9 billion yuan ($1.45 billion), accounting for about 13 percent of its total revenue, statistics showed.
In the first quarter of this year, Sinotruk sold 43,000 vehicles in the domestic market, including 25,000 heavy-duty trucks, which increased its market share by 1.66 percent, compared with a 33 percent drop of the overall sales of heavy-duty trucks across the country.
The company also exported 10,035 heavy-duty trucks in the first quarter, up 8 percent year-on-year.
During the past 60 years, Sinotruk has stuck to its "going out" strategy and made great efforts to tap into overseas markets.
"In the context of globalization, Sinotruk should seek an international strategy so that the company can sustain and expand the achievements made through industrial restructuring and reform," Ma said.
Liu Wei, deputy general manager of Sinotruk, said the company has established 40 overseas representative offices and cooperates with more than 160 dealers.
"Our products have won recognition from not only customers in Africa, South America, Central Asia and the Middle East but also those in developed countries including Ireland and New Zealand," said Liu, who is in charge of the company's overseas operations.
"The territories of the five Central Asian countries were important sections of the ancient Silk Road, which played a significant role in promoting exchanges between Asian and European countries," he said.
"With the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative and the accelerated development of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, we will attach greater importance to the Central Asia market and strive to make breakthroughs in tapping into the market," he added.
The Central Asian market is one of Sinotruk's most important overseas markets, Ma said. The company has established a sophisticated trade network that covers vehicle sales, after-sale service, parts supply and image building in the region, Liu said.
Sinotruk has built four representative offices in the region and sold more than 15,000 vehicles to local customers.
Since 2011, Sinotruk has exported more than 8,000 heavy-duty trucks to Kazakhstan, which contributed to local urban construction and industrial development. The company's Howo brand won recognition from local customers and has become a symbol for Chinese heavy-duty trucks.
With the introduction of new products, including the Howo-T7H, V7G and T5G, more and more dealers and customers have shown interest in the company's trucks.
Sinotruk is negotiating with local manufacturers to open a knocked-down factory in the country. A memorandum of understanding on the issue was signed during Premier Li Keqiang's visit to the country in December last year.
In Uzbekistan, Sinotruk's 4S shop is the largest in the local market. Since 2011, the company has exported nearly 2,000 heavy-duty vehicles to the country. The company started selling Compressed Natural Gas dump trucks to customers in the country in 2013 and has sold more than 300.
In Turkmenistan, more than 3,000 Howo-branded heavy-duty trucks are in use.
In Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Sinotruk has started offering heavy-duty trucks with engines that meet Euro IV emission standards at the request of local governments.
"As the largest Chinese manufacturer of heavy-duty trucks, Sinotruk will continue to provide high-quality products and service for Central Asian customers," Ma said.
By Zhuan Ti (China Daily)