Injection molding machine maker Haitai Machinery Group Co. Ltd. said its business is growing fast despite a slowdown in its domestic market.
The Ningbo, China-based company announced 2005 sales of 400 million yuan ($48.8 million), up about 33 percent from 2004, when sales stood at 300 million yuan ($38.2 million). ``We are striving to reach 500 million yuan ($62.4 million) this year,'' engineer Ying Li said April 26 at Chinaplas in Shanghai.
``We are already booked up to June,'' she said, ``New orders have to wait till after that.''
Last year, resin price hikes shelved many processors' capital investment plans, Li said, and the soaring cost of steel squeezed profit margins. But Haitai saw healthy growth by focusing on niche markets. The company supplies processors that make consumer products, she said, such as cell-phone shells and electrical appliance parts.
``We are not competing with European or U.S. companies on high-end products,'' Li said. The target market already has plenty of room for growth. In 2005, the Haitai launched two new production bases and added 100 jobs.
Although the company has a similar name, Haitai is not related to Haitian Machinery Co. Ltd., another major injection press supplier based in Ningbo. In the Chinese market, Haitian and Hong Kong-based Chen Hsong Group are the largest press suppliers, measured by sales, and Haitai is No. 3, according to observers.
In addition to seeing its sales grow in China, Haitai has made another big move by selling presses overseas. The company's exports in 2005 ``skyrocketed,'' Li said, representing 32.8 percent of its total sales. The largest market is Southeast Asia, followed by Turkey, India and Spain.
``We also export to Germany, the United States, Brazil, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Syria, Australia and Canada,'' Li said. The company also has entered the East European market, selling in Russia and Hungary.
Haitai sold about 3,000 machines in 2005. In addition to the core product line of injection presses, it also makes die-casting machinery and high-speed and precision punching machines.
Founded in 1995, Haitai now has four production bases, covering 1.6 million square feet. Of its 600 employees, 130 are engineering technicians. Haitai spends 3-5 percent of its sales on research and development, said Li.
The company claims it independently developed China's first all-electric high-precision injection molding machine in 2003. ``But so far, we've only sold three all-electric machines,'' Li said, all to domestic customers. ``Most processors of consumer products are not ready to pay the high price for energy-saving features.''