Shini Plastics Technologies Ltd. of Taipei hopes to turn its third production facility on the mainland into the world's largest production base of plastics auxiliary equipment.
The company is constructing a 484,375-square-foot factory in the Pinghu Industrial Park near Shanghai. Once finished, Shini will move production at its facility in Ningbo to the new factory.
``That will probably happen in mid-2009,'' General Manager Norris Wu said at Chinaplas, held April 17-20 in Shanghai.
The Ningbo factory has been running since 2001 and features 215,275 square feet of manufacturing space. ``It has been our fastest-growing factory,'' Wu said, ``but the limited space can't accommodate our need to expand.''
The Ningbo factory fills 30 percent of the company's orders. Its capacity is expected to expand 20 percent after moving to the Pinghu location. The firm said the new production base will serve the Chinese domestic market, including the growing northern regions.
Shini's 16-year-old factory in Dongguan gradually will switch its focus exclusively to exports, the company said. About 28 percent of Shini's sales - 600 million yuan ($86 million) - come from overseas. Even with the weakening U.S. dollar, Wu said exports still grow faster than the Chinese domestic market.
The Pinghu factory under construction will use only half of the 16.5 acres of land the company acquired. ``There's a lot of potential to grow,'' he said.
President Kenny Wu said the company makes more than 70,000 units of equipment annually. Sales growth reached 15 percent in the first quarter, compared with the 18 percent growth in 2007. ``The Chinese market has been affected by the snowstorms during the past winter, as well as other factors,'' he said. ``South China has been really slow, but fortunately the eastern regions have been growing faster than previous years,'' offsetting the lack of momentum in the south.
Rising labor costs and electricity shortages are causing troubles in Guangdong Province, China's earliest manufacturing base. ``Our Dongguan [Guangdong] factory has been given `priority electricity,' and we also have generators,'' said Kenny Wu.
Making its first foray into automation equipment, the company showcased a sprue picker swing-arm robot at Chinaplas to complement its existing lines of granulators and conveyors. The production has been in development for about two years and will be commercialized in five months, Kenny Wu said.
After opening a branch and warehouse in the United States in late 2007, Shini was set to launch a warehouse in Poland at the end of April. ``Both facilities are joint ventures between Shini and our local partners,'' he said.
Shini retains 15 percent of production at its headquarters factory in Taipei.