South China Tyre & Rubber Bounces Back
The South China Tyre & Rubber Company (SCTR) claims to have been the first state-owned organisation in China to specialise in the production of high performance radial tyres and its hp product portfolio includes tyres with speed ratings from V up to Y.
Not that SCTR’s products are limited to high performance tyres, as the range includes light truck and heavy truck, including all-steel radials. The company operates two production facilities in the Panyu and Conghua districts and annual production is around eight million tyres, of which 1.3 million are all-steel radials, under the brand names of Wanli and Milever. Wanli tyres are exported to more than 110 countries worldwide and have achieved the necessary certifications and approvals, such as ECE and DOT. Wanli tyres are also supplied to domestic vehicle manufacturers, such as Shanghai Volkswagen, Faw Volkswagen, Hainan Mazda, Zhenghou Nissan and Guangzhou Isuzu, among many others. Domestic sales are handled via a network of 103 provincial agents.
Although SCTR was established only 20 years ago, it has had an eventful history, having been rescued from the verge of bankruptcy and turned round by the management. Tyre production increased from 1.07 million units in 1997 to eight million units last year and turnover has risen over the same period from 290 million Yuan (42.4 million US$) to three billion Yuan (438.8 million US$). SCTR has exhibited a growth rate of over 20 per cent for 10 consecutive years.
On-going technical development
SCTR’s production technology was originally sourced from Firestone in the USA, but the company has added its own refinements and introduced research programmes, to the extent that it is regarded as one of the leading technology enterprises in the Guangzhou area. Automatic production and testing equipment was brought in from leading manufacturers in Germany, the UK, the USA, Japan and Italy to ensure efficient, high quality manufacture. When it comes to the range of products, SCTR has developed its own products in sectors such as snow tyres and runflat tyres (this latter in 2007), as well as introducing 24″ high performance SUV tyres (2005) and 26″ ultra high performance SUV tyres in 2007. A high proportion of the technical staff are university graduates and SCTR boasts that it has an R&D group “which is second to none in the Chinese tyre industry”.
Alongside the desire to produce high quality products, SCTR recognises that it has social and environmental responsibilities and has funded a number of social projects, including the establishment of a school. This attitude is summed up by a paragraph on the company’s website, which says: “When we become wealthy, we will not forget the people who have helped us; when we become prosperous, we will strive to become more enterprising.”
Noble sentiments, and they seem to work in the business field too, as demand for SCTR tyres is currently outstripping supply. However, steps are in hand to increase production capacity and phase one, with an annual capacity of two million sets of tyres, has been completed. Work has begun on phase two and SCTR estimates that this will take five years in total, by which time the annual production capability will have risen to 20 million sets of tyres.