The hybrid communist/capitalist system makes the Chinese political environment an odd one for those doing business inthe People’s Republic. As well as booming demand for imported brands (many of which are manufactured domestically), the strange combination of top-down legislative rule-issuing combined with crypto-relational give-and-take means success is as much about knowing the people and protocol as it is about having your numbers straight. So when the ruling communist party announced a string of apparent liberalisation measures, you can imagine why Chinese middle class and the businesses employing them (as well as courting their custom) inclined their ears.
The near 90 years old tyre manufacturer Cooper, has so far always been noticeable with two digit operational profits, has held its ground even after the rather difficult economic conditions in the United Stated after “September 11”. Whilst Cooper has been more or less in the doldrums during the first six months of the current year, the company again gathered way under the guidance of CEO Thomas A. Dattilo. Cooper could convince the market of the fact that this tyre and rubber company will find the way back to its old earning power. In the fourth quarter of 2002 there have been preferred sales because of announced price increases for 2003, so that the manufacturer was inevitably lagging behind its sales figures during the first months of this year. Since September however Cooper progresses again relatively steeply with light truck tyres. In particular, the last quarter showed strong upward tendencies. While the market grew by around four per cent, Cooper in turn created a growth of nine per cent by special arrangements with customers, so that up to the end of the year many arrears can be caught up. This at least is what Tom Dattilo explained to T&A in an interview at the SEMA show in Las Vegas.