Indian parts makers stop over at Shanghai
About 40 Indian component companies were part of the ACMA contingent at Automechanika's second largest show worldwide. Karthik H reports from Shanghai.
Addressing the inaugural press conference, Ji Xue Cheng, president of CNAICO, said that Automechanika Shanghai is the largest and most influential fair organised in China. Talking about the progress in the Chinese automobile industry, Cheng said, “In the next 10 years, China’s auto market will go from ‘Made in China’ to ‘Created in China’.” However, he added that “the industry will emerge healthier and be more reasonable after the adjustment is complete,” Cheng added.
As for this year’s show, Jason Cao, senior general manager of Messe Frankfurt (HK), mentioned that the event had set many records even before it was inaugurated. He said, “As well as the largest ever exhibitor turnout, we have attracted more country and regional pavilions than ever before, including a first-time pavilion from the UK. Many of the returning pavilions have increased their space to cope with the demand from exhibitors. For example, the Indian pavilion organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has grown in size by 50 percent.”
The show had also seen a rise in the number of both foreign and Chinese exhibitors, 33 percent and 13.5 percent respectively. The 17 halls were segregated, with separate halls dedicated to key brands and international exhibitors, with more halls earmarked for the parts and components sector, repair and maintenance sector and accessories and tuning sector. These three sectors alone saw the space occupied go up by 14.77 percent, 20.11 percent and 61.75 percent respectively.
Along with the expo, there were many fringe programmes that set about exploring various topics of interest to the Chinese automobile sector. Nextgen Auto International Summit China 2012, one of the biggest such programmes, saw various policy makers of the ruling Chinese government, including the programme directors at National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), share the stage with luminaries of the automobile industry from across the world. NDRC is the Chinese government’s arm that attempts to explore various new directions for industrial development in China, by tying up with various universities across the world for academic inputs.
Representatives from some of these institutes, like the Beijing Institute of Technology and University of California, were also present during the three-day summit.
Indian participation at the Automechanika Shanghai came mostly from the established automobile component manufacturers’ cluster in and around the NCR, with 19 of the 37 exhibitors having their roots in that region. The next biggest bunch was from the upcoming cluster near Rajkot, with seven exhibitors from that region. The Southern cluster also saw representation in the form of Roots India.
There was, however, an interesting trend during the four-day mega event. International exhibitors from as many as 40 countries seemed to have made a conscious decision to stay away from actively wooing Chinese buyers. While it is widely known that the cost of manufacturing in China is cheaper than anywhere in the world, there are still some doubts about the quality of the products made by Chinese manufacturers. This, however, seems to be changing.
Ji Xue Cheng in his earlier address during the inauguration went on to praise the local manufacturers, saying, “We used to compete on cost, but now we are beginning to compete on quality.”
Indian exhibitors were no exception to this phenomenon with most of the first-time exhibitors admitting that they were not targeting Chinese buyers. Piston and crankshaft assembler Multi-Trade International said that it was targeting European and Middle-Eastern customers. Dinesh Thesia, CEO, Multi-Trade International, said: “The response for our products is very good. However, we are only looking at European and Middle-Eastern buyers. We’ve had some discussions with a few European buyers but orders, if at all, are two to three months away as we have to send them our product samples first.”
Harsimran Singh Anand from Agra-based liners and pistons manufacturer for diesel cars and trucks, Anand Exports, echoed the same sentiments, stating that there was no way his company could match the cost of Chinese manufacturers.
Prakash M B from Esteem Auto Parts, a Rajkot-based cylinder liners manufacturer, said that the company has had an office in New Jersey for over five years now. “We are not looking at the Chinese customers at all. We are mainly targeting US-based clients,” Prakash said. The company’s manufacturing facility in Rajkot pushes out close to 100,000 pieces every month, with about 30-35 percent of the produce being exported to the US for use in heavy duty engines manufactured by Cummins and used by Komatsu. Interestingly, Prakash maintains that there is no slowdown in the US market whatsoever. “Our turnover was $6 million last year and we are expecting it to grow this year. The slowdown is only in Europe and South America, especially in Argentina and Brazil,” he added.
Seasoned aftermarket product manufacturer Roots India, however, was adamant in saying that China has big potential as a market. “We’ve been to Beijing also. We are keen on the Chinese market and we’ve had good response, let’s say above average, here in Shanghai this year,” said S Raghu Prakash, associate head – exports. He also went on to state that the company is exploring new markets in Africa, especially South Africa.
Metal injection mould manufacturer Indo-US MIM Tec had set up its stall in a whole different hall to the India pavilion. Balaji Singh M from the company’s marketing group said that he was rather happy with the response. As with the exhibitors above, his company was also targeting US and Europe-based customers. However, with its manufacturing facility near Bangalore and an office each in New Jersey, USA and just outside Stuttgart, Germany, Indo-US MIM’s mandate was simpler to comprehend.
There were, however, a few exhibitors who weren’t especially keen on the show. Techno Springs Industries even went on to say that it would not be participating in the 2013 edition of Automechanika Shanghai. The Faridabad-based manufacturer was a first-time exhibitor at the expo. Vikas Tantia, senior executive – marketing, said, “It was a mistake coming here. We were experimenting and we are not happy with the response. We will not be here next year.” Prodded further, Tantia said that the company was under the impression that all Chinese manufacturers would be exhibiting at the expo. Despite the dissension voiced by some Indian exhibitors, the show was a standing success with more number of exhibitors and visitors than ever before. With Automechanika set to enter India for the first time with ACMA Automechanika New Delhi (February 7-12, 2013), organiser Messe Frankfurt Tradefairs India has confirmed that 250 exhibitors will occupy around 9,100 square metres at Pragati Maidan, with international pavilions from China, Germany, Italy, Taiwan and UK. Autocar Professional is the lead media partner for the premier four-day trade fair and will report extensively, both in the magazine and on www.autocarpro.in
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