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Toolmaker Hitop Mold planning to double capacity

By: Nina Ying Sun

April 5, 2012

ORLANDO, FLA. (April 5, 6 p.m. ET) — Automotive mold maker Hitop Mold Industrial Co. Ltd. plans to double its capacity of its factory in Dongguan, Guangdong province. Managing Director Toni Yuan said the company is ready to grow its U.S. business with some “lessons learned.”

The company, which recorded more than 80 million yuan (about US$13 million) in 2011 sales, is also planning on an initial public offering in China.

The expansion will start in August and add machinery to make large molds. It will help boost the company’s 2012 sales by 50 percent.

Hitop’s molds are used by its European clients to make parts for premium brands such as Bentley, Jaguar and Land Rover as well as other brands such as Ford, Toyota and Volvo.

It success in Europe hasn’t been able to replicate itself in the U.S. market, which only makes up less than 10 percent of its sales. Yuan reflected on its experience working with a U.S. customer that dropped Hitop about two years ago for some “miscommunication,” and concluded that “we need to try to communicate better with American customers, especially the details, preferably in person.”

In fact, Yuan is going to visit this customer after the NPE show. “Both parties have decided that we should resume our relationship.”

The recovery and growth of automotive business in the U.S. is encouraging in Yuan’s eyes. “We are looking for auto molders in the U.S. that are ready to take advantage of the opportunity and improve their cost structure.”

He plans to station a technical sales staff in North America.

Despite China’s booming auto market, domestic sales take up less than 30 percent of Hitop’s sales. “It’s a different business model,” he noted.

By different, he meant complicated. “For export business, all that matters is our competence – the capability to offer quality product, good service and communication. But for domestic business, it’s not the same.”