Visiting CITExpo in 2018 had the potential to be a gloomy affair. A trade show that has specifically targeted medium-sized tyre Chinese manufacturers as a gateway for raising global interest, the trading environment in major export markets in Europe and North America have not been the most hospitable, with tariffs or anti-dumping duties affecting various product segments. In the UK, we heard from a major Chinese truck tyre importer that business had effectively been put on hold with the announcement that the EU was imposing tariffs in May. Pressure had also been mounting domestically, as the Chinese government moved to bring a halt to production at factories it considered to be too polluting, which led to upstream supply chain problems, as raw materials suppliers to the tyre industry were among those affected.
The Chinese Yongtai Group, which once ranked as the 32nd largest tyre manufacturer in the world and which used to produce World Rally Championship tyres for DMack as well as the well-known Durun budget brand, is bankrupt. Shandong Yongtai Group Co., Ltd. officially entered administration on 16 July 2018. On 4 August 2018 Shandong Dongying Intermediate People’s Court published documents showing that Guangrao County-based Caijin Asset Management Co., Ltd.’s application for Yongtai to enter administration had been accepted. The Beijing-based Dacheng (Jinan) law firm was appointed as the administrator of Yongtai Group.
Coventry-based car panel OE supplier Covpress entered administration at the end of September, with administrators stressing there are no current plans for redundancies amongst the 800 staff. Rather there is a good chance the business will be sold as a going concern. So far around 50 companies are said to have expressed an interest. But with business on the up at Covpress, could a deflated Chinese tyre business be behind the news?
The eighth annual “Asian Essen”, Reifen China took place at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre in the first week of December, with some of the Chinese tyre industry’s major players rubbing shoulders for the last time in 2014. The European side of the Sino-German partnership behind the annual show, Messe Essen stated that it expected the presence of around 120 exhibitors in hall W1 and 15,000 trade visitors. This latter figure, unconfirmed at the time of writing, takes into account the other three-quarters of the twin exhibition; RubberTech China 2014 and the International Exhibition on Rubber & Elastomer, led by the China United Rubber Corporation, comprised around 500 exhibitors across another three halls (W2-4). Messe Essen CEO, Oliver P Kuhrt stressed the importance of the ‘Reifen’ brand’s presence in China, stating in his introduction to the show that it “stands for the success of a fair made in Essen extending across borders”. With about two thirds of the exhibitors at May’s Reifen 2014 visiting Essen from outside Germany, Messe Essen also noted the importance of Reifen China in recruiting Asian participants, whose attention the exhibition organiser has drawn in Shanghai.
Manufactured by Shandong Yongtai, the Durun brand announced the foundation of a UK distribution company at Brityrex. Qingdao Durun International Trade Co deputy general manager, Chuanbo ‘Woody’ Yan told Tyres & Accessories that the manufacturer considered using a British portal to sell and market the brand in the UK an “opportunity” to develop Durun via a different route to other Chinese tyre importers.