Taiwan machinery firms see growing demand in Africa

By Steve Toloken
Staff Reporter / Asia Bureau Chief

Published: August 12, 2013 9:57 am ET
Updated: August 12, 2013 10:01 am ET

Image By: Steve Toloken Peter Pan, R&D director with Chumpower

Related to this story

Topics Africa, China, Packaging, Machinery

TAICHUNG, TAIWAN — Some companies in Taiwan's plastics machinery industry, which are often among the first to go into the newest "emerging" markets, are reporting significant increases in shipments to Africa.

Packaging seems to be a big driver. The continent, for example, now makes up 16 percent of sales for PET stretch blow molding machine maker Chumpower Machinery Corp., up from less than 5 percent five years ago.

Similarly, injection press maker Chuan Lih Fa Machinery Works Co. Ltd. said orders to Africa are growing by double-digit percentages annually.

And blow molding and extrusion equipment manufacturer Fong Kee International Machinery Co. Ltd. said it exported a little more than 10 percent of its $34 million in global sales to Africa last year, up from 3-4 percent of sales in 2011, and less before that. FKI executives predict that 10 percent figure will grow.

To put African sales in perspective, it remains much smaller than the traditional destinations for Taiwan's plastics equipment, China and Southeast Asia.

But during recent interviews at their factories in Taiwan, executives from several companies pointed to recent signs of robust African demand for plastics equipment.

Multinational cosmetics manufacturers are starting to invest, and that's creating needs in their supply chains for Fong Kee equipment, said Charles Wei, CEO of the Tainan, Taiwan-based firm. Demand is also rising for blow molding machines for larger containers such as jerry cans for fuel, he said.

"I think in the next five years many big companies will move into Africa," he said.

Peter Pan, R&D director with Chumpower, said they believe they're winning orders partly because African factories are shifting their business from mainland China factories.

"Right now, the customers in Africa, they want more reliable products," said Pan, in an interview at the firm's headquarters in Taichung. "They don't want to spend money to buy European machines. So they come to Taiwan and Korea to buy machines."

Africa is a significant focus of Chumpower's marketing. Beyond exhibiting at the world's largest plastics shows this year, Chinaplas and K in Germany, the company is exhibiting at shows in South Africa and Libya, and is planning for a trade show in Kenya next year.

In general, its sales to Africa have been spread fairly evenly, with Nigeria, Algeria, Tanzania and Ghana all accounting for at least 10 percent of sales to the continent, according to the company.

Chumpower engineer Tony Wu, who travels widely for the firm, including trips to Africa, the Middle East and one to North Korea, said he does not see signs of a slowdown among customers in many of the firm's emerging markets.

"I don't see the slowdown, when I travel there; if anything they are still growing," he said.

If you look at Taiwanese plastics and rubber machinery industry export data, Africa remains a small portion of sales, but exports to Nigeria increased 19 percent last year, and tripled to Algeria, albeit from a small base.

Taiwan, with 22 million people, has a very dense collection of plastics manufacturers and claims it's among the top five plastics and rubber machinery exporters worldwide.

The love for Africa is not universal among Taiwanese companies.

Fu Chun Shin Machinery Manufacture Co. Ltd., Taiwan's largest injection press maker, with annual sales of about US$100 million, said it sees potential but the market may not be there yet in a big way for its equipment.

"They have lots of people, yes, but their industrial development is not very full range," John Hsieh, an executive with the Tainan-based firm. "We found we have a chance but … we should say the African industry is not ready yet."


Comments

Taiwan machinery firms see growing demand in Africa

By Steve Toloken
Staff Reporter / Asia Bureau Chief

Published: August 12, 2013 9:57 am ET
Updated: August 12, 2013 10:01 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Smartphone work adds 52 percent to sales for China's Eva Precision

September 18, 2014 4:37 pm ET

Growth in supplying the smartphone and automotive industries helped Chinese processor Eva Precision Holdings Ltd. push injection molding sales up 52...    More

Image

Bill Kent named Thermoformer of the Year

September 18, 2014 12:11 pm ET

Bill Kent flew 6 million miles in a 50-year career at Brown Machine LLC — where he began assembling thermoforming machinery on the factory...    More

Image

China's Polymax Elastomer launches U.S. production in Illinois

September 17, 2014 3:35 pm ET

Chinese materials maker Polymax Elastomer Technology Co. Ltd. has opened a North American production site and headquarters in Waukegan, Ill.    More

Image

NY packaging company aims for zero waste

September 16, 2014 1:36 pm ET

Plastic folding carton maker Diamond Packaging is no longer sending any manufacturing waste to landfills.    More

Image

Flexibility for complexity key for Brampton

September 16, 2014 11:26 am ET

Blown film machinery maker Brampton Engineering Inc. is well positioned to meet growing demand for complex film structures, highly customized packagin...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook – North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events