Hong Kong's Chen Hsong Group occasionally engages in a spirited battle of ``who's the biggest'' with China's Ningbo Haitian Group Co. Ltd., considered by some to be the world's largest maker of injection molding machines. Both claim to have sold 11,000 injection presses in their most recent full fiscal year. Chen Hsong said its number was up 10 percent from the 10,000 machines it sold in fiscal 2003.
Such numbers boggle the minds of many skeptical Western machinery sources - especially given that press makers shipped only 3,290 injection presses in all of the United States in 2003.
Even in the boom year of 2000, U.S. injection shipments totaled only 6,420 units, according to the Washington-based Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.
When asked about the claims of who sells the most, Chen Hsong marketing communications manager Amy Leung said: ``Well, all I can say is that we are listed and audited,'' referring to her publicly held firm's listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. ``They [Haitian] are not.
``We are almost 100 percent certain that we are larger than they are,'' Leung said, ``but obviously we cannot confirm [it] since Haitian is not listed and does not publish its financial information. Also, they are a conglomerate of more than 20 companies with cross-holdings. ... It is difficult to get a consolidated view without some inside information.''
Haitian - which recently announced plans to begin small-scale machine assembly in Illinois - said it has sold about 40 machines in North America so far in 2004. The Ningbo, China-based company said it sold about two-thirds of its 11,000 presses last year to companies in the Pacific Rim.