"Zoomlion has made a new record of milestones in India and keeps introducing cost-effective models in the country and shares the profits with end users. It has now over 1000 units of construction equipment working across India. For providing a better and professional after sales service to end users, we have set up a top class development sales and after sales support mechanism with our local distributors," says Mr. Alex Huang, Managing Director, Zoomlion South Asia Branch, in an interview with S. A. Faridi.
How do you view the future growth potentials of the cranes in India and how the year 2011 has been for Zoomlion so far?
No doubt, the demand curve for cranes in India would be on the rapid rise. The economic growth would certainly create a wide range of lifting jobs in urban infrastructure, ports, power, and roads.
According to our internal estimation of the Indian market potential, the demands for crawler cranes, truck mounted cranes, and tower cranes are likely to be 600,300, and 700 units respectively in 2014. Infact, we sold just 200 units of tower cranes last year.
A new emerging area to propel the demand of tower cranes is hospitality and thermal power station sector. According to recent reports from hospitality consultants and industry executives, branded hotels in India will double their rooms to nearly 125,000 in the next five years largely due to growing inbound tourist arrivals and growing economy. Higher capacity tower cranes will find its increasing application for cooling tower construction in thermal power projects as well as chimneys.
The Chinese crawler cranes manufacturers have already become the major players in the Indian wherein Zoomlion is the biggest one with an increase of about 120 units of crawler cranes including over 20 units of 260 ton capacity, in 2011 only and the total population is 300 of units in the past 5 years.
Zoomlion has provided more than 450 units tower cranes in India in the past years though most of them have been changed their brand by ACE before 2010.
Zoomlion crane business obtained the peak development in the Indian market in 2011 by supplying the cranes to the best users as BHEL, Reliance, L&T, Essar, NCC, Sarens, Sanghvi Movers, Ideal Movers etc.
Zoomlion also made a new record milestones in India as 3 units of 650 ton crawler cranes are working here, 150 ton truck mounted crane is being used by an Indian government power company and 25 ton tower cranes are serving for Sasan thermal power project.
What sort of innovative plans you are currently contemplating keeping the stiff competition scenario in the crane market in India?
Zoomlion is a global company but focuses on localization as well. We pay a lot of attention to meet the demand of Indian crane market. We realize that crawler cranes are versatile lifting equipment which are finding increased applications based on assorted lifting requirements from the Indian construction sector at present. The future requirements of crawler cranes in India will be driven by the demand placed by upcoming greenfield power projects. To satisfy the requirement of thermal power project construction, we have developed our QUY260 crawler cranes’ heavy duty boom length from 83 to 92 meters. Zoomlion 260 ton crawler cranes are now working in different thermal power projects in India.
Further, the innovative requirements will keep growing as contractors and project managers understand better that the high utilization of cranes can deliver to the projects as support equipment. This is in contrast to the conventional fallacy of a mere lifting equipment. We have introduced 130 ton and 160 ton crawler cranes to replace the conventional models as 100 ton and 150 ton in India to provide a better capacity options with competitive price.
The Zoomlion tower crane models that have found increased acceptance in India is 6 tons TC5013B-6 for office buildings, apartments, business center, and shopping center. Whereas 10 tons (TC6020A-10), and 12 tons (TC7030B-12) are used for big office buildings, power stations, airports, and steel plant projects. We keep introducing 25ton (TC 7052-25) tower cranes for Indian thermal power projects.
Despite the demand of top quality and high end products, the Indian customers are very sensitive on the price front; how are you maintaining equilibrium between affordability and reliability? What steps have you taken to motivate customers to go for quality products if future returns and value for money is guaranteed?
To take on pricing competition, Zoomlion will keep introducing cost-effective models to India and will also share the profits with end users. Its 80ton crawler cranes and 80ton truck mounted cranes can be the most cost-effective model here.
Besides the cost-effective strength, Zoomlion is the only Chinese-multinational company who can provide all range of cranes, such as crawler cranes 50–3,200 ton, truck mounted cranes 16–150 ton, all terrain cranes 180–500 ton, tower cranes 5–240 ton, RT cranes 55–100 ton. The crane customers can find all products solution from Zoomlion and enjoy the one-vender, one-station service in India.
Zoomlion provide the total solution of CE demands and is also about to bring other strong products like concrete machineries, bulldozers, excavators, drilling rigs, and sanitation environmental equipment which are number one in Chinese market. We would make our customers support strong, through our distributors and owner after-sales expert team.
The Indian customers have gained global exposure and are fully aware of the technical innovations taking place in the crane segment across the world. In view of this, what sort of safety features you have recently introduced ensuring the safety and reliability of your products during operations?
We acknowledge that the Indian market is really competitive with all international manufacturers, which has helped Indian customers to have a very good knowledge and experience to different requirements of construction equipment. On the other hand, Zoomlion is a global company who focuses on localization as well; we have designed and produced a wide range of construction equipment with better operational performance, higher safety standards in compliance to strict EU III and updated products.
What sort of crying challenges you and other cranes companies are currently facing in the Indian crane market and what are the way outs to address these issues?
Due to the increasing demand of construction equipment, the Indian customers have less patience of the crane delivery and the cranes companies are under heavy pressure of providing shorter lead time. This is the main challenge Zoomlion and other cranes companies facing now, but Zoomlion is improving global logistic management system and providing a faster response to the Indian customers.
The other challenge is owing to government policy, where most of the cranes companies have to pay about 23–26% duty to enter into the Indian market, unless they set up their local production plant in India.
Today, customers are invariably concerned about the availability of the after sales support mechanism including easy availability of the spare parts. Keeping this in view, please dwell in details that what are the sales and after sales services being rendered by Zoomlion in the country?
Zoomlion has more than 1,000 units of construction equipment working all over India now. To provide a better and professional after sales service to end users, we have set up a top class development sales and after sales support mechanism with our local distributors together.
Zoomlion has 6 sales and after sales service teams in different zones of India, (Navi Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore), operating a daily service to related regions.
Zoomlion depend on local distributors to provide a good pre-sales service and spare parts supply, as Escorts has 110 locations and is well equipped to provide efficient sales, service and parts support with workshop facilities to our truck mounted crane customers across the country.
Other than the distribution of your tower cranes, crawler cranes and Truck mounted cranes by ACE and ECEL in India; are Zoomlion vying for any new tie-up arrangement to introduce their other range of products in the country?
Zoomlion, as the original equipment manufacturer, is focusing on equipment performance in our production field while ensuring positive sales in potential demand pockets as well. The Indians make it indispensable to select a distributor to add value to the productline. Zoomlion has opted to go for distribution collaboration in the past years.
Now we believe that we have a successful partnership with ECEL, but the relationship between ACE, Zoomlion has been paused since the end of 2010.
There are numerous equations that need to be highlighted and successfully solved by Zoomlion and distributors before entering into any collaboration. We welcome all potential distributors to start the collaboration with Zoomlion for other products as concrete machineries, bulldozers, excavators, drilling rigs and sanitation environmental equipment.
What are your plans to launch CIFA range of concrete products in Indian market?
The operation mode of “one group, more brands” promotes Zoomlion to the first group in concrete machinery in the world.
In European market, Zoomlion serves as tactical brand and aims at gaining market share to competitors positioned in the price sensitive segments of the market. CIFA serves as strategic brand in Europe and aims to gain market share from the medium and upper end segments.
In the Indian market, we will take the same strategy and strive to become the leading Brand for the tunnelling concrete applications in India as other top manufacturers did.
What is the focus of your participation in Excon-2011 and what types of equipment you are going to display?
The Cifa Zoomlion Group will be proud to be one of the most innovative construction machinery companies at Excon-2011. We will display Zoomlion-CIFA concrete equipment focusing on the Indian market demands.
Secondly, Excon-2011 is the right place to propel a new positive sentiment for our total solution for crane business, including crawler cranes, truck mounted cranes, and tower cranes.
Thirdly, we will take this chance to show Zoomlion earthmoving equipment and our after-service training facility as the virtual operation system of Zoomlion 400ton crawler cranes.
Last and most important, Zoomlion will use Excon-2011 to offer our partnership with the Indian local customers and also to develop more local distributors for different products.