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China's heavy construction machinery company aspires for vigorous growth in US market

Column:Industry News Time:2019-04-06

China's heavy construction machinery company aspires for vigorous growth in US market

Source:Xinhua Published: 2019/4/5 17:13:530

For SANY America, the US subsidiary of China's heavy construction equipment manufacturer SANY Group, it sounds quite ambitious to grow from an 80-million to 1-billion-US-dollar company in five years in a market that is "particularly mature" for excavators. 

"I mean it is ambitious. Don't get me wrong, but we should be able to do this. It's very doable," said Doug Friesen, CEO of SANY America, in a recent interview with Xinhua at his office in Peachtree City in the US state of Georgia. 


As a veteran with years of experience in automotive industry and heavy construction equipment manufacturing, Friesen's confidence comes primarily from the superior durability and cost-effectiveness of SANY excavators. 

"The most important thing is that these machines are designed and engineered in China, and they're designed and engineered for a market that typically runs 24/7," Friesen said, adding that excavators are not "necessarily designed to take that kind of workload" in the United States. 

"So one of the first things that our customers experience here (is that) our products don't break down. They don't have the failures. That's a tremendous advantage," he said. 

Also, SANY's American customers are getting a premium product at a lower price, said Friesen. 

"People want SANY products ... because they're getting extreme value from their purchase," he said, adding that their products also include port equipment, cranes and wheel loaders. 


However, Friesen said, brand recognition now remains a major hurdle for SANY products in the US market. 

"We're competing against product that's been here for a hundred years. When ... you introduce a new brand, by itself (it) is a task or hurdle to overcome," he said. "When it's a Chinese brand on top of that, it becomes harder at first." 

"Once you break into the market, the nice thing about the United States market is they don't care where it comes from as long as it's good product," he said. "Once they get connected with our brand and people know who we are, we will see an explosion of products being sold in the United Sates." 

SANY America has been doing quite well since it entered the US excavator market in recent years, Friesen said. 

The senior industry executive, who assumed his current position in June 2017, designated the year of 2019 as "a year of promotion" for SANY America as he has set all the foundation work for the company's growth. 

"We are going to start a promotion campaign like we have not seen yet in NA (North America). The market will begin to know who SANY is," he said. 

Besides going to major trade shows, Friesen has planned to expand the company's network of dealers from 30 to 100. 

"It just takes some time in the beginning to let people know who we are and let them know that our products are as good as any (product) around the world, in fact, better," said Friesen. 

"We're a one-percent market player. We need to become a five-percent market player, and then move on to a seven-percent market player," he said. "When you're at the bottom, there is no place (to go) but up." 


SANY America will soon start building its brand excavators "completely from scratch" in the United States, said Friesen. 

The company started "semi knocked-down" (SKD), which means assembling partially pre-fabricated vehicles, in October last year, he said. 

"And in June of this year we will change that (SKD) to CKD (completely knocked-down), which means everything comes in as individual parts, and then we build that completely from scratch," he said. 

"In this globalization effort, there is a recognition that wherever you sell, you should manufacture," Friesen said. 

Sixteen SANY excavator models will eventually be brought to the United States, potentially serving the markets of North and South America, said the veteran business leader. 

"We're shooting for 6,000 units (of excavators) here ... and currently we're at about 1,000. Ultimately, we would like to produce all product lines in the United States," he said. 

The CEO added that there is a plan to expand the manufacturing site, which will lead to a significant growth in the number of local-hired hands. 

For its manufacturing team alone, SANY America planned to expand from 25 job posts to approximately 300 within five years, Friesen said.