Kinforest Tyre: Putting On A Show
Kinforest Tyre is one of China’s ever-growing legion of tyre manufacturers. Although the company Kinforest Tyre Co. Ltd was set up only at the end of 2007, the organisation’s history goes back to 2000, when it bought tyre-making technology from Firestone. In 2006/2007, there was co-operation with Continental until the establishment of Kinforest Tyre at the end of the year.
The Kinforest factory employs around 2,500 workers, producing passenger, UHP, light truck and winter tyres under the brand names Kinforest, Mayrun and Starlake. The tyres comply with a number of test requirements, including DOT, ECE, NOM, INMTRO, SABSAND and GCC. Kinforest also says that it was the first Chinese tyre manufacturer to achieve the ECE rolling sound certification.
Exports are important to Kinforest, with customers in North America, Europe and Asia. Export sales are running at one million sets of tyres, with a value of US$30 million.
In its short history, Kinforest has notched up some notable landmarks. For example, in 2003 the company produced what it claims was the first 20-inch UHP tyre in China, size 245/35 R20 Y. The following year saw another, Z-rated UHP tyre, as well as a studdable winter tyre, size 205/55 R16, able to work in temperatures down to -30º.
Development continued and, in what is claimed to be another first for China, in June 2005 the company produced a 240inch UHP SUV tyre, a 305/35 R24. Since that time, Kinforest has been developing new products and exploring new potential markets. This has led to co-operation with customers in Germany, Sweden, the UK, Italy, Switzerland and Russia and, outside Europe, in Kuwait, Israel and Australia.
Kinforest has invested considerable time and money in expanding its marketing and one of its major tools is exhibiting at trade shows, such as last year’s Reifen exhibition at Essen and this year’s Autopromotec show in Bologna. Both these events were described as “a great success” by sales manager Jerry Zhou and raised the profile of the company considerably.
The Reifen show was Kinforest’s first venture into a major exhibition outside China and was successful beyond their expectations, with meetings with “hundreds of professional buyers” and the signing of exclusive agreements “in several markets”.
Closer to home, Kinforest recently took part in the 6th Citexpo and 2nd Asia Reifen show. A high-profile presence, including a widely-reported speech by the Kinforest general manager, was also a considerable commercial success.
Looking ahead, Kinforest expects to become a familiar face at tyre exhibitions, spreading the company name and product range to an increasingly-global customer base.