Opinion: How far can Chinese tire makers go?
ERJ staff report (PR)
London -The increasing prominence of Chinese manufacturers in the global tire industry is among the most significant trends identified in the latest issue of ERJ, which includes our authoritative European Tire Report with its annual ranking of the world’s top 75 tire makers*.
While this year’s report - based on 2013 tire sales - indicates little change at the top, China-headquartered tire companies seem to be making significant waves a bit further down the list.
There are 29 Chinese companies in the 2014 ranking—including five among the top 20. These include China’s Zhongce Rubber Group Co. Ltd in 10th place with sales of around $4930 million, just ahead of Giti Tire Pte. Ltd. – a predominantly Chinese tire maker based in Singapore.
More interesting, perhaps, is the list of Chinese companies that were new to this year's rankings: Shandong Deruibo Tire Co. Ltd. at No. 35 with sales of $992 million; Shandong Hengyu Technology Group, No. 43 with sales of $623 million; Shandong Taishan Tyre Co. Ltd., No. 65 with sales of $211 million; and Shandong Bayi Tyre Manufacture Co. Ltd, No. 66 with sales of $201 million.
The new entrants helped bring the total tire sales of Chinese producers to around $27.6 billion – almost 15 percent of the global total of $187 million.
This reflects a steady advance by the country’s industry over the past five years: combined sales of Chinese firms in 2009 came in at $14.6 billion – 10 percent of the world total.
Back in 2009 there were 20 Chinese tire makers in the top 75, led by Hangzhou Zhongee Rubber Co. Ltd in 13th position with sales of $2.13 billion.
And, scrolling back 10 years there were just 16 Chinese tire makers in the 2004 global rankings, led by Triangle Group Co. Ltd in 12th place with tire sales of $765 million.
From this, key questions now might include: How quickly will Chinese tire makers gain a 20-percent share of the global market?; and How close can they get to challenging the dominance of the established Top Six tire makers?
This will, in part, depend in the ability of Chinese players to shake off their low-quality image and move away from competing solely on price - both in their own domestic market and overseas.
*The full Global Tire Report can be purchased via the website of ERJ sister title Tire Business: Click here