The interest in upscale products
has never been bigger in China, where middle-class population has pushed up
demand for quality products, and manufacturers see the need to upgrade their
EUROMAP has reported a drop in machinery
export to China last year, thought to be a result of European suppliers
producing more machines in China and export to other countries from there.
However, it does not necessarily indicate a
gloomy prospect, as China is now more into high quality technologies,
such as those equipped with today’s must-have features – energy-saving,
automation, clean and intelligent production.
The trend is expected to benefit high-end
equipment suppliers, giving them new opportunities to introduce technologies,
existing or new ones, which might not be Chinese customers’ priority in the
past due to relatively high prices.
EUROMAP: China the growth driver
EUROMAP (European Plastics and Rubber
Machinery) reported that exports from its member countries rose by 52% from
€6.6 billion to €10 billion in the 10 years between 2005 and 2015, slightly
below the global increase of 56%.
Exports to China decreased in 2015 as
European manufacturers set up their own facilities in China to produce products
targeting the low-end or medium-end segments.
In 2015, the EUROMAP countries as a whole
accounted for 47% of world exports, while China's share rose to 15%. In the
years 2016 to 2018, global sales of plastics and rubber machinery are expected
to grow by an average of 3.4%, with China as the main growth driver.
"But the high-end machinery in China
is still imported from the Europe. This situation is good for the European
manufacturers, which means we still take the lead in the high-end market of
China," said Dr Karlheinz Bourdon, Vice-President of EUROMAP.
Dr Bourdon, who is also Senior Vice
President Integration of KraussMaffei Technologies, is integrating the
company’s business units with the existing rubber machinery and related
production businesses of its new owner ChemChina after the acquisition
completed in April 2016.
He said export from China to other Asian
countries benefit European companies, while there is a trend of producing
upmarket goods in China – all these call for better machines and technologies.
“The drop in export of machinery from
Europe to China concerns mainly mid- to low-end products. There is a rising
demand in the high-end market, where European companies producing in China saw
Professor Helmar Franz, Director of the
Board at Haitian International holds similar views and disagreed that demand in
China has weakened under a slowed economy.
“China is still a growing market, and
crisis is only for outside suppliers,” he said. “Local market needs are being
met by local suppliers. I’m positive with the China market. There is more
consumption and local industries buy equipment locally. The mindset of
exporting to China needs to change. Suppliers need to adopt.”
Production growth of plastics and rubber
machines over the last 10 years grew by 83%, with China, USA and Europe being
the driving forces of the industry, according to EUROMAP’s President, Luciano
Anceschi, who is also managing Director of Tria, an Italian company
specializing in design and manufacturing of rotary knife granulators and
As markets are shifting, classifications
like “emerging” and “developed” countries are outdated, he said. Business is
now shaped by individual companies, many of whom play on a global field and set
their standards worldwide.
German technologies reach out to locals
From Germany, Erge Electric Heat Technology
manufactures electrical heating elements and accessories for the plastic
industry. It also makes tailored heaters according to customers’ requirements.
In 2006, the company set up its
wholly-owned subsidiary in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province. Purchasing manager of
Erge in China, Li Dingyang, (李丁阳 采购部经理), said European
companies can better serve local customers if they have stronger presence in
Besides, the idea of having products of
European quality standards at local price is appealing to customers.
“China currently imports 80% of high-end
components. There must be more local suppliers to meet the demand of high-end
markets and replace the lower-end products. Customers would like to reach us
easily when they come across problem of heating,” said Li.
A subsidiary of Koch Technik in Germany,
Koch Technik Asia Pacific is responsible for marketing, sales and customer
services for a range of technology, including mixing, dosing, conveying and
Balint Sandor Takacs, Business Development
Manager of Koch Technik Asia Pacific as well as Koch Machinery Equipment
(Shenzhen) [科豪机械设备(深圳)有限公司 业务拓展经理 唐斌] said the company wants to provide a one-stop shop for its
It is strengthening the sales network in
the region, but not thinking of manufacturing in China because “components are
“Our customers used to be mostly German
automotive producers but there are more and more local Chinese customers now.
They want to upgrade their product quality,” he said.
To meet the foreseeable needs of customers
on smart production, the products of Koch are designed to be Industry
Entex Rust & Mitschke, which
manufactures planetary roller extruder in Germany, is also eyeing the China
market in transformation. It exhibits in CHINAPLAS every year to reach
potential customers in different Chinese regions.
“Clever customers would invest in
German-made machines for long term benefits though more are buying locally,”
said Thomas Malzahn, Sales / Marketing Manager, stressing the company will keep
its production in Germany.
He regards China’s slowed economy as a
normal cycle and is confident that the company’s sales offices and service
support in the country can meet the needs of local customers.
Shrinking outlet stays high rank
remains an important market to Italian exporters of plastics machinery even
though it is not growing as fast as before, according to Mario Maggiani,
General Manager of ASSOCOMAPLAST (Italian Plastics and
Rubber Processing Machinery and Moulds Manufacturers’ Association).
fifth on the list of export destinations, having 4.24% share of total export in
2015. The value of machines and moulds sold to China amounted at €123,364, and the value for the first
6 months this year (2016) is€67,346, more or less in line with the same period in previous year.
expect an increase of a few percentage points (for 2016),” said Maggiani. “Even
China is not growing so fast, my personal impression is that the Chinese
plastics sector is growing faster than China’s GDP. China is still an important
market to Italian exporters of plastics machinery.”
to the sector report summary 2015 released by ASSOCOMAPLAST
in June, uncertainties remained in some key markets including China.
The report says China market’s growth in
recent period has clearly slowed down and remains subject to “the scarcely
foreseeable/quantifiable effects” of state economic measures.
Sales to China dropped by 5% in 2015,
clearly affected by the slowdown in the local economy. Data from Chinese
sources shows overall imports of plastics and rubber processing machinery has
fallen by an even higher amount.
Statistics from Germany indicate greater
decline in supplies to Chinese processors: approximately -17% with respect to
2014, according to the report. However, production by German manufacturers in
Chinese territory has increased considerably.
this year, ASSOCOMAPLAST described China as “a
shrinking outlet market” for Italian exporters and their German competitors.
Overall, imports of plastics and rubber
processing machinery fell by 27% in September 2015 as a result of a general
slowdown in the local economy and increased domestic production, it said.
EU is still
the main market for Italian exporters, especially Germany. Sales to the region
contributed to 50% of total export in 2015, jumped 10% from the previous year.
The NAFTA countries registered a
significant growth of 38% during the year, driven by the recovery of the US
economy in general and by that of local manufacturing in particular.
a 20% growth on order was recorded for Mexico and Canada, which are strongly
linked to the US market. In the Far East, an average sales increase of 6% was
achieved, thanks to double-digit growth in Japan, India, Indonesia and