Haitian looks to exports

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Business in North America continues to improve for giant Chinese injection press maker Haitian International Holdings Ltd., said one of the firm’s senior officials. At Chinaplas, 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. “The connection with the North American market is much more than just sales in the U.S.”

Multinationals and 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., the firm’s Worcester, Mass.-based U.S. affiliate, for “doing a great job.” Absolute Haitian is opening a technical center near Cleveland in Parma, Ohio, to handle more business and build stronger links with auto-part makers in the region.

Franz noted that, because of Haitian’s strong position in China’s domestic market, “export always has greater potential for us.” Strong opportunities right now lie particularly in Mexico, as well as 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 a big user of all-electric presses, and Japanese makers are quite strong there.

At Chinaplas, held April 18-21 in Shanghai, Haitian touted second-generation models of its best-selling machines. Franz said the firm has sold 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.