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Arburg touts 'made in Germany' to Chinese buyers, setting it apart from rivals

By: Nina Ying Sun

May 13, 2014

SHANGHAI — A third-generation family business with sales of 488 million euros ($679 million), Arburg GmbH + Co. KG of Lossburg, Germany, carries a distinctive branding strategy and style. The only major Western injection press maker without production outside of its home country, Arburg does not hesitate to stress that all of its machines are exclusively produced at its parent factory in Lossburg.

Arburg advertising throughout the exhibition center of 2014 Chinaplas highlighted the key phrase “made in Germany.”

Like its competitors that have established local production in China, Arburg recognizes the need for fast response to the market. But the company believes its Shanghai distribution warehouse, opened last year, fulfils that need.

“We are in a position to deliver individually adapted Allrounders and Multilift robotic systems much faster than before in the region. The high level of customer satisfaction confirms that we have made absolutely the right choice,” said Helmut Heinson, managing director for sales.

“With their strong growth rates, the markets in China and Asia are very important for us. We are therefore active at the local level here,” Heinson said.

But that doesn’t necessarily translate to local production. In fact, Heinson stated Arburg has “no intention or plans to manufacture in Asia particularly in China” during a Q&A session at Chinaplas media day in Shanghai.

Instead, Arburg continues to leverage local warehouses/stockrooms for its machines that are known for modular design.

This year, the company is launching a new Shenzhen office with a stock room that can fit up to seven allrounders, according to Max Man, managing director of the Arburg subsidiaries in Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

About 80 percent of Arburg’s customers in China are local companies, he said.

Heinson added that Arburg’s No. 1 seller in China is the hydraulic Allrounder golden edition, followed by hybrid Allrounders for packaging and medical applications.

In an interview with Euromap before Chinaplas, Heinson said Arburg’s global business is equally divided into three: Germany, the rest of Europe, and the Americas plus Asia. He does not expect China to become its major market in the near future.

In addition to injection molding machines in the range of 12.5-500 tons in clamping force, Arburg also makes robotic systems, customized turnkey solutions, peripherals as well as additive manufacturing system the Freeformer.

Arburg did not display the Freefomer at this year’s Chinaplas, because reaction from Asian customers has been “very limited” since the product’s debut at K 2013, Heinson said. But he reassured the audience at the media event that the Freeformer will be introduced in China in the next 12 months.