Western European manufacturers’ complaints that their products have been copied in the Far East are well reported. However, Shandong Yinbao Group is one of a select few Chinese tyre manufacturers that have suffered product piracy too.
According to international marketing manager Gavin Liu, the Shouguang-based Yinbao Group recently discovered that its growing off-the-road (OTR) product range was being copied, with the pirates making use of the company’s Goodtyre name: “We have found some faked tyres recently in the market copying the Goodtyre brand name of OTR products – which is both damaging and illegal.” Fighting back in a letter to customers, Yinbao representatives wrote: “Companies and people who undermine the interests of clients and reputation of our group will be investigated for legal responsibility according to law.”
Shanghai Baolong has embarked on a new publicity campaign promoting its commercial vehicle tyre pressure monitoring system (CV TPMS). The system is designed to permanently monitor both the tyre pressure and temperature and warns the driver in the event of a dangerous pressure loss or overheating, making an important contribution to road safety and fuel economy. The system is already available for use as a stand alone system or integrated into all classes of commercial vehicles – including trailers and semi-trailers.
Each battery-powered wheel transmitter installed inside the tyre measures the pressure and temperature every four seconds, together with the individual ID code of the transmitter, these values are sent by RF to the receiver via transceiver at 30-seconds intervals. The receiver evaluates the data, identifies the transmitter and decides whether or not the driver needs to be informed.
A ban upon the importation of used tyres is already mooted for Nigeria, and one of the country’s six regional governments has announced it plans to go one step further. The Gwagwalada Area Council Unit Command of Nigeria’s Federal Road Safety Commission, said on October 13 it would prohibit the use of worn and second hand tyres, especially by commercial vehicles.
On making this decision public the unit commander, J.K Adamu, said seventy per cent of commercial vehicles plying Nigeria’s highways are still using second hand tyres. He added that the command has been making an effort in collaboration with members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NUTRW) in various regions, explaining the dangers in the use of second hand and worn-out tyres by drivers.
Nigerian Ban on Used Tyres Too Late for Local Industry
Nigeria’s Customs and Excise Tariff Book for the period 2008–2012 has been presented. Amongst the many new measures being implemented in an effort to help the Africa nation’s economy is a ban on the importation of used tyres. However, in the opinion of many this measure may have come to late for the country’s domestic tyre industry.
As the opening day of Shanghai’s Citexpo 2008 tyre exhibition drew to a close, Wilko Fong director of the organising company Reliable Exhibitions told Tyres & Accessories that the 2009 show is already 60 per cent booked. 2008’s show is proving to be as bustling as ever with 300-plus exhibitors and visitors numbers (based on pre-registration indicators) up between 10 and 15 per cent compared with the 2007 show.
Wilko Fong is hoping that the nine, which represents long life according to Chinese numerology, will be Reliable’s lucky number in relation to next year’s show, which is scheduled to take place at the Shanghai Everybright Conventional and Exhibition centre from 9 September 2009 (09/09/09).
Sinochem International Corporation subsidiary Sinochem International (Overseas) Pte Ltd. has Bought a 51 per cent stake in Singapore-based natural rubber producer GMG Global Ltd. for SG$ 267.98 million (£106.4 million). GMG operates natural rubber business in Africa and elsewhere with plantations in Cameroon and Ivory Coast and processing facilities in Indonesia. Amongst other things Sinochem International expects the deal to help position it for growth in the global rubber market. China contributes to over 20 per cent of the worlds natural rubber consumption but only produces 7 per cent of the production.
The fate of General Tyre Tazania is still hanging in the balance, having closed in April last year. Local newspapers are reports that the government is not likely to bail it out unless the last investor, Continental Tyres, accounts “for the $10 million it was advanced in 2002 to revive production.”
World Bank's Corporation Offers Petlas US$250 million Loan
International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has reportedly offered loan support of up to US$250 million dollars to Turkish tyre manufacturer Petlas. According to the Anatolia news agency, the first step is an 80-million-dollar loan for Petlas, apparently the only tyre plant manufacturing military tyres in Turkey. Semra Guler, finance director of Abdulkadir Ozcan Otomotiv A.S, told the news agency the financing would help Petlas upgrade technology, expand product range and manufacture eco-friendly tyres.
The Shandong Yinbao Tyre Group is set to embark on a programme of international expansion. Established in 1994, the company has become a famous name in China, designing, manufacturing and marketing tyres and inner tubes for the domestic market, under the brand names GoodTyre, Yinbao and Huibao. The product range is extensive and includes truck, agricultural and industrial tyres, as well as giant OTR tyres, for example, size 36.00 R51, plus a range of inner tubes. Products are already exported to over 50 countries, but the company, under the direction of chairman Mr. Yonghua Liu, has decided that the time is right to concentrate more on developing export business.
Manufacturing is carried out at three plants in China and Shandong Yinbao has built up a network of distributors to handle sales outside China. The products are all DOT, ECE, INMETRO and SNI approved, among others. As well as adopting a policy of continuous quality improvement, the company is dedicated to extending the life of its tyres and, as an example, its website proudly mentions the fact that the companys heavy-duty, radial truck tyres are capable of running for 200,000 kilometres.
In July 2005 a case of industrial espionage involving Zeus GmbH, a subsidiary of Germany’s Rösler group, was reported in South Africa. At the time the company was testing a newly developed puncture protection substance, which today is marketed worldwide as Triofill.
Two men illegally entered the Zeus factory building, took photographs of the new Trio fill pump and stole samples of the Triofill. Zeus Gmbh has finally received a 14-page judgment from the South African court regarding the case, and Tyres & Accessories has seen a copy of this judgment. The court has penalised each of the two men with fines of 20,000 rand (£1,400).
Africa is a market that presents tyre manufacturers with both problems and opportunities. Theoretically, the potential may be there for a thriving industry and market, yet unreliable infrastructure, taxation issues and political instability are all features of the African tyre industry landscape that make operations complicated. However, despite such hurdles, the situation in some areas is improving.
In mid-July Dunlop Nigeria announced the planned closure of its factory, claiming tariff reductions on imported goods as a deciding factor. In early 2007 the Nigerian government reduced the tariff on imported truck and bus tyres from 40 per cent to 10 per cent, undermining, in Dunlop’s view, the investments it had made in expanding its radial production programme.
With Chinese input Prices on the Up Could there be a Retread Renaissance?
Raw material price increases affect every part of the tyre production and distribution chain. At the moment all the new tyre manufacturers (from the largest to the smallest) are feeling the raw materials pinch, which has been reflected in a run of less profitable financial reports. Even the Chinese manufacturers that were able to offer the “economic option” for so long are being forced to restructure their prices. Prior to this the low price of new Chinese made truck and bus radials had been hindering sales of quality retreads, so now that the price differential appears to swinging back against the Far Eastern budget producers, will this provide the opportunity for a resurgence in retread sales?
Take Qingdao, Shandong province-based Aufine Group Co Ltd. In August Tyres & Accessories received notification that the company was bringing in a second “unfortunate” price increase in three months, brought on by the “not small” (23 per cent) increase in Aufine’s natural rubber costs. The fact that the Chinese government clamped down on production in regions adjacent to Qingdao during the last quarter has also affected the distribution of these products. Furthermore, in addition to pressures mentioned above, the supply of Chinese tyres is also described as “inconsistent” since the pound’s value has fallen against the Euro. As a result Chinese manufacturers are increasingly ‘cherry-picking’ sales in the most lucrative international markets.
Chinese OTR tyre manufacturer, Yinbao Group, has reported that its giant bias OTR tyres (4000-57) are achieving service lifetimes in excess of 4000 hours. Yinbao Group highlights one particularly example of a 4000-57 tyre the company shipped to South Africa last year and which is still in “good service” despite being in operation and exceeding 4000 hours to date. Another product (in size 45/65-45) has reportedly been in use for more than one year.
Formed in 1976, the Al Dobowi Group was established to serve the growing Middle East tyre management industry. From its Dubai base, Al Dobowi Group is now involved in a range of operations (from tyres to equipment) on four continents – they even produce specialized battery components at a factory in the UK. With over 1100 employees all round the world, and some very interesting expansion plans in the offing, Tyres & Accessories recently met with executive director Harjeev Kandhari and found out more about what these will mean for customers.
One of the first things Harjeev Kandhari mentioned in conversation with T&A was that group companies are increasingly focusing on solutions, rather than just products. When you consider the wide variety of related business areas Al Dobowi operates in, this corporate philosophy really makes sense. But in order to explain what this might mean for customers a little background information is required.
Dunlop, the last tyre manufacturer with a factory in Nigeria, is set to leave the country, favouring the importation of tyres from other nations such as South Africa. The decision is said to be inspired by the persistence of power cuts, unreliable gas supply, a rise in manufacturing costs and inconsistent governmental tariffs, which allowed imported tyres to gain the upper hand in the domestic market.
The company stated that it had reached an impasse with the Nigerian government, after failing to persuade it to alter the prohibitive tariff structure. The government said that local manufacturing could not meet the market demand, though Dunlop argued that the current tariffs, coupled with energy costs and unreliability, made the improvement of production capacity impossible.