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U.S., Mexico, S.E. Asia drive export growth for Haitian

By: Robert Grace

April 24, 2012

SHANGHAI (April 24, 2 p.m. ET) —  Business in North America continues to improve for giant Chinese injection molding machine maker Haitian International Holdings Ltd., according to one of the company’s senior officials. At the Chinaplas 2012 trade show, Helmar Franz, executive director and chief strategy officer for the Ningbo-based firm, stressed the importance of the U.S. market globally.

“A big part of our Chinese market is also driven by America,” he said. While it’s almost impossible to quantify, he said, “the connection with the North American market is much more than just sales in the U.S.” Multinationals and also smaller, foreign-owned companies in China need support locally, so when business conditions improve abroad, it can have a positive effect on their operations in China.

Franz also praised the efforts of Absolute Haitian Corp., their Worcester, Mass.-based U.S. affiliate for “doing a great job” for them. As reported recently from the NPE2012 show, Absolute Haitian is opening a technical center in a western suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, to handle increased business and build stronger links with auto parts manufacturing companies in the region.

Franz noted that, because of Haitian’s strong position in China’s domestic market, “export always has greater potential for us.” And he said the greatest opportunities for export currently lie in the areas surrounding the United States, particularly Mexico, as well as in Southeast Asia.

The latter markets are being driven in part by rising costs in China, which prompted Haitian last year to launch a factory in Vietnam, where it is making only its standard presses. Thailand, he noted, is big user of all-electric presses, and Japanese makers are quite strong there.

At Chinaplas, Haitian was touting second-generation models of all its best-selling machines. Franz said the company has sold a total of more than 60,000 presses in the past five years, and claims a market share of more than 40 percent for all injection machines in China’s domestic market, with a much more dominant position in the sector for machines of 1,000 tons of clamping force and larger.