By Namrita Chow
Shanghai, China-Shandong Linglong Rubber Co. Ltd., producer of the Linglong, Shanling and Leao tyre brands, is building a $200 million (€141 million) tyre plant in Zhaoyuan City, China, dedicated to ultra-high-performance passenger tyres for export.
Due on stream by mid-2008, the 40 000-m2 plant-Shandong Linglong's third factory-will have an annual capacity of 10 million tyres, raising the firm's total annual capacity to 30 million units, according to Jiang Guibo, business chief, import and export.
The new capacity should help push the export share of the company's annual sales from 2008 onward to more than 50 percent, Jiang said in an interview at the recent Citexpo 2007 trade show in Shanghai.
The company's focus is to increase its exports. â€œWe must go the international way, sell more to the international market,â€ Jiang said.
The new plant is being built adjacent to the company's existing radial car and truck tyre plant in Zhaoyuan City, Shandong Province. The firm has another plant nearby that makes cross-ply tyres.
With 2006 sales of €530 million, Shandong Linglong is China's fifth largest tyre maker. Sales are expected to exceed €700 million this year, Jiang said, and more than double by 2010 to €1750 million.
The company has 120 agents in 160 countries. In 2007, Shandong Linglong expects export sales of $460 million.
In 2006, Shandong Linglong exported €105 million worth of tyres to North America, which accounts for 40 percent of its export market, Mr. Jiang said.
The factory under construction is a long way from the company's roots. Owner Wang Xi Cheng started in 1979 with a tyre repair business and branched into new tyre manufacturing in 1987.
The company's name means â€œclever and nimbleâ€ but the company was named for the Linglong Mountain that rises near Zhaoyuan.
Domestically, Shandong Linglong sells via 300 franchised shops and sales agents in every province.
From Tire Business (A Crain publication)