In 2012 the EU introduced plans to support consumers with better information about a tyre’s noise, wet-braking and rolling resistance performance. Since then, Japanese, South Korean and US variants have been either mooted or implemented. However, the world’s largest tyre market (China), is also close to releasing its own labelling system – or should that be systems? Tyres & Accessories saw two labelling variants during the recent Tire+ exhibition in Shanghai and discussed the subject with a number of firms exhibiting there.
At the end of April Tyres & Accessories reported that Guizhou Tyre Co. Ltd. announced plans to build a truck tyre factory in Vietnam. Back then, reports suggest the company would invest RMB 1.67 billion (£189.3 million) in the project for a plant capable of manufacturing 1.2 million all-steel radials per annum. The intention was to set up the factory in the Long Jiang Industrial Park, some 30 miles from Ho Chi Minh City where a 20-hectare site had been selected. During the recent Tire+ exhibition in Shanghai, Tyres & Accessories sat down with Guizhou’s general manager of the export division, Jie You, and found out more about the company and its plans.
Continuing the theme of technological development, Linglong Tire – a top five Chinese tyre enterprise – exhibited a number of technological developments including its: a dandelion natural rubber-based tyre, a tyre featuring a graphene compound and a polyurethane tyre manufactured with 3D printing techniques.
With one industry insider calling ChemChina’s acquisition of Pirelli “a genius move”, it would have been remiss of us not to take the opportunity to spend time with new Aeolus general manager Giovanni Pomati and find out more about how the changes affect the best-known ChemChina brand (Aeolus) and the company’s views on the latest changes in the Chinese marketplace during Tyres & Accessories recent visit to China.
With a headline like that, you could be forgiven for thinking that this month’s column refers to the ongoing geopolitical sabre rattling taking place between China’s North Korean neighbours and the USA. However, as important as the hint of nuclear escalation is, here we focus on how the overheating Chinese tyre market is as close as it has ever been to boiling over. Two key subjects have raised the temperature in the People’s Republic during the last month or so: The European Commission’s (EC) decision to initiate an anti-dumping investigation against Chinese-produced truck and bus tyres; and the even more imminent effects of local environmental emissions investigations within China itself, which have led to the suspension and even closure of numerous businesses in the country (see below).