Chinese injection press manufacturer Borch Machinery Co. Ltd. has shaken up its top management team, naming a new chairman and a new CEO in a move it says is designed to help grow in world markets.
The Guangzhou-based company named Hans Chen, previously vice chairman and head of North American operations, as its new chairman, and tapped Joe Tang, an executive with broad background in Borch's production and overseas operations, as CEO.
Borch is targeting significant growth in exports to North America, and continues to plan for a possible factory on the U.S.-Mexican border within three years, Chen said, in an interview with Plastics News.
Borch, one of China's largest injection press manufacturers, said in a statement that it wants the new executive team to reflect a more international outlook. It made a point of saying it was promoting a younger management team, with the goal of “advancing the company's internationalization process.”
Chen replaces Zhu Kangjian, who had been chairman for eight years.
Chen said he will remain based in Borch's office in Ontario, Calif., although traveling more. Zhu had been based in Guangzhou.
Zhu, who last year was also named chairman of the Beijing-based trade group the China Plastics Machinery Industry Association, is stepping aside voluntarily after building the company, Chen said. Zhu will remain Borch's honorary chairman.
Borch was established in 2003, and since then grown rapidly to become one of China's largest injection molding machinery makers, ranking as the sixth largest by sales and third largest by profit in this year's ranking from the China Plastics Machinery Industry Association.
But Chen said that 2014 sales will likely be off a little from last year's figure of roughly 700 million Chinese yuan ($113.9 million). In 2010, a boom year for China's machinery market, company sales hit 1 billion yuan, he said.
In recent years, the company has faced a more difficult domestic Chinese plastics machinery market — Chen called it “recession” conditions even if not literally in recession — and has seen exports remain basically flat at 30 to 35 percent of total sales.
Chen — and Zhu in an interview last year with Plastics News — said the company has a target of exporting 50 percent of sales: “That's the goal. It's a big jump.”
Chen said the company hopes to hit that target next year, and believes it that will be helped by a new production line specializing in export machines being set up in its Guangzhou factory. That line, with dedicated staff, will focus on machines that meet the UL standards in North America and the CE standards used in Europe, and will cut delivery times for those machines from 90 days to 45 days, he said.
Chen said North American sales this year are on pace to hit $20 million, double last year's figure, and the company is growing faster in the region than it planned when it began a more concentrated focus last year, he said.
It's being helped by an overall recovery in North America's injection molding machine market, Chen said.
He repeated previous statements from Borch officials that the company is looking at setting up a manufacturing plant in the United States within three years, if sales continue to increase.
He said its biggest overseas markets now are Turkey, South Korea and Brazil, but the United States could become its largest export market in two years.
Chen was educated at Manchester University in England, and has lived and worked there and in Canada and the United States.
Tang joined the company in 2007 as a sales manager in the overseas business department, and held various executive posts in the production and marketing departments.
The personnel changes took effect in late September. The company announced them on its website Oct. 23.