Facing down financial challenges around globe, Synventive Molding Solutions is playing the chameleon adapting its products for new applications and new markets as the company looks for growth opportunities. At Chinaplas 2009 in Guangzhou, those opportunities were centered in the Chinese domestic market.
As part of its Chinaplas booth, the company featured a new Asia-specific product, appropriately called the Asia Hot Runner.
With the financial crisis we needed to find other markets to continue our growth, said Mark Moss, the executive vice president of market and product strategy at Synventive, a global manufacturer of hot-runner systems and components. We knew we needed to be creative.
Last year the company launched a research and development center near its China manufacturing base in Suzhou. The center, said Moss, has helped the company measure the trends and requirements of the Chinese market.
The company, which is headquartered in Peabody, Mass., is still growing despite the financial crisis. The pace of its expansion, however, has slowed. After increasing sales by 140 percent during 2007, the company slowed during 2008, increasing sales only by 87 percent year-on-year.
Synventive's business in Asia is split about 60/40, with 40 percent of final applications destined for export. During the crisis, Moss said, the domestic Asian market has been stronger.
In the past, Synventive has focused largely on the automobile industry. According to Moss, around the end of December 2008, the company decided to tap into another growing market in China. The new Asia Hot Runner can be used in general consumer, appliance, and small auto applications. The company also targeted China's growing cell phone market. This is our first time to target the cell phone market, said Moss. It's an area with a lot of potential.
Moss expects many key markets for plastics molding will be impacted by the massive stimulus spending that the Chinese government has initiated in the wake of the market crash.
The Chinese government has invested RMB 4 trillion ($585 billion) to boost the Chinese economy and help to improve the living standards of Chinese people particularly in rural areas, Moss said. An increasing number of home appliances and automobiles will be marketed to consumers in these areas.
In addition, Synventive's traditional focus the automobile industry is seeing benefits from China's stimulus spending.
This is certainly helping the plastics industry, said Moss, pointing out that automobile sales in China recently surpassed those in the United States. I think this is a sign that government spending has assisted in increasing consumption.
After many years in China, these are the last changes that Moss will oversee from Suzhou. His promotion to executive VP is recent and will relocate Moss back to the United States. His former position as president of Synventive Asia has been filled by John Jofre, previously the vice president of engineering at Splice UK, a fiber-optics solutions company based in the Philippines.
Moss is optimistic as he returns to the U.S. Even if the stimulus spending has no immediate impact on other consumer goods, Moss sees the downturn as an opportunity to expand the reach of his company.
This gives us time to perfect our products, he said. We're preparing them for when the market picks up again.