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 2015 edition of the China International Tire Expo opened on 9 September in Shanghai with around 350 exhibitors – the show’s most ever. The sustained growth represented by these numbers has led to the decision by organiser Reliable International Exhibition Services to transfer CITExpo to the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center (SWEECC), built in the centre of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo site. The show also boasts strong continuity, with around 80 per cent of 2014 exhibitors back in 2015, according to Reliable; in past years the organiser has come to expect a similar proportion of its customers booking their space for the following year during CITExpo.
Kinforest Tyre Co. Ltd. – a Chinese company whose brand portfolio (led by Kinforest) is imported in the UK by various wholesalers including Micheldever – were promoting the performance of their products during the Citexpo show in Shanghai.
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.