An injection molder in Guangzhou, China, has test-marketed a polypropylene outdoor chair there, using a mold from the United States.
``The mold is state-of-the-art for China and enables us to produce the best-quality [plastic] chair in China,'' Rodney Bell said in a telephone interview. Bell is executive chairman of Pearl River Plastics Ltd. of Hong Kong. ``I see China as an untapped market.''
Bemis Manufacturing Co. of Sheboygan Falls, Wis., supplied the mold. The joint venture Guangzhou Rodman Plastics Co. makes the chair on a 1,300-ton Mitsubishi and distributes product through its five sales outlets in Guangzhou. Parent firm Pearl River Holdings Ltd. in Calgary, Alberta, owns 64 percent of the joint venture.
In July, the venture began molding toilet seats on an 850-ton Mitsubishi machine for Kohler Co. of Kohler, Wis., to distribute in the Chinese market. The business was secured through Bemis.
In another niche, Bell said the market for plastic pallets ``is heating up in China'' and the United States. ``We may have to make our own molds for that,'' he said.
In November, the operation will install its 34th injection molding machine, a 2,500-ton Mitsubishi. Clamping forces for the other presses range from 3-1,300 tons. ``We are running at 80 percent utilization,'' Bell said.
China is the venture's prime market. Exports account for less than 10 percent and include heavy-duty PVC aprons for Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, and produce crates for Australia and New Zealand.
The venture reported profit of C$1.5 million (US$1.1 million) on sales of C$15.5 million (US$11.4 million) for the eight months ended Dec. 31. Pearl River Plastics had profit of C$825,000 (US$604,900) on sales of C$10 million (US$7.33 million) for the same period. Pearl River Holdings stock was listed July 2 on the bulletin board Canadian Dealing Network of the Toronto Stock Exchange. Casey Chan, based in Calgary, is president and chief executive officer of Pearl River Holdings.
In June, the firm acquired Bayside Capital Corp., which had been listed on the Alberta Stock Exchange. Bayside has a London, Ontario, injection molding factory that it acquired from Exacu-Mould Inc. in January 1996.