Hankook Passes the 100 Million Mark in China
In late March Hankook Tire celebrated a significant milestone – the 100 millionth tyre manufactured by the company in China came off the production line at Hankook’s Jiaxing facility in Zhejiang Province. This achievement is noteworthy not only in terms of Hankook’s presence in China, but it also serves as a reminder of the speed at which the country’s tyre industry has developed – China’s National Bureau of Statistics records the nation’s total tyre production in 2006 to be 433 million units, a 15 per cent year on year increase.
Speaking on this topic in early 2007, Cho Choong Hwan, vice chairman and former CEO of Hankook Tire, remarked that production from within the BRIC nations – Brazil, Russia, India and China – was growing at a faster rate than domestic demand, meaning that exports from these market were growing considerably, particularly from China.
The capacity of Hankook’s core production base in China, the Jiaxing plant, has been considerably expanded since first entering production, and the tyremaker now has an annual production capacity of 28 million units at this plant and at its factory in Jiangsu Province. These figures alone indicate the importance that Hankook places upon the Chinese market as part of it global strategy, and this importance was further confirmed by the establishment of a research and development facility attached to the Jiaxing factory, one of only five the company operates globally.
The president of Hankook China, Choi Jin Wook, has given voice to the tyremaker’s high aspirations for the Chinese market. “With sustained efforts in production capacity, research and development, and marketing, Hankook Tire’s goals for 2007 are to seize more than 25 per cent of China’s market for car tyres, build a large-scale distribution network covering the whole country, and provide large quantities of tyres for use on luxury cars manufactured both at home and abroad,” he said. “It is hoped that through the realisation of these goals in 2007, Hankook will ultimately become Chinese consumers’ favourite brand of tyres.
“China’s auto industry will maintain high and increasing momentum in 2007, and Hankook Tire will take the opportunity to achieve breakthrough. Hankook will also bring its global premium brand image store T-station into China, along with changing brand and marketing strategies, to expand to the premium market.”
Hankook entered the Chinese market in 1996 and has supplied radials as OE equipment to a number of domestic vehicle manufacturers since 2002; according to the company, Hankook currently holds nearly 30 per cent of this market. In 2006 Hankook supplied 3 million car tyres, three times the quantity supplied in 2004.