Oshkosh lays strategies to expand presence in China

By Cai Xiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-10-28 11:09
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TIANJIN - US-based specialty vehicles maker Oshkosh Corporation said it is adopting two strategies - self-building channels and pursuing potential acquisition opportunities - to speed up development in China.

The company recently launched its first Asian manufacturing plant in Tianjin. The $40-million plant was completed in June with a production capacity of 15,000 units of JLG access equipment. Oshkosh acquired JLG, one of the world's leading manufacturers and marketers of access equipment, in 2006 with $3.2 billion.

The Tianjin facility is aimed at meeting domestic demand and exporting products to other Asian markets and Australia. In September, the first batch of 13 1930ES scissor lifts was shipped to Australia.

Oshkosh President and Chief Operating Officer Charles Szews told China Daily the Tianjin plant can help the company meet increasing demand and achieve long-term development in China.

"With the Tianjin plant, we have brought together the most advanced manufacturing processes to continue our long, proud tradition of building the best access equipment in the world," Szews said.

"Producing in the region will allow rapid product delivery to customers and complement our other manufacturing locations."

Tianjin is considered to be the nation's third-largest port and ranks No 1 in northern China.

The Tianjin plant is a part of Oshkosh's strategy to build channels by itself in China by combining its manufacturing capability with its sales networks in the country.

So far, Oshkosh has set up three offices in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai to distribute its products. Its Shanghai office is also dedicated to sourcing parts and components to manufacture Oshkosh and JLG products.

Szews joined Oshkosh in 1996 as the chief financial officer. He has led the company to complete 15 acquisitions, including the JLG case, and promote sales from $400 million to $10 billion.

Szews said Oshkosh will insist on an acquisition strategy in China. But some challenges exist, such as the lack of adequate experience and in-depth knowledge about the local market.

"Much is going to stay the same, such as continuing strategic acquisition and pursing the global market," Szews said.

As a Fortune 500 company, Oshkosh manufactures and markets special access equipment as well as commercial, fire, emergency and vehicle bodies. It had a revenue of $5.3 billion last year. It entered China in 1982, starting with supplying aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicles for major airports in the nation.

Szews said Oshkosh Corporation's products are in use throughout China. JLG equipment is also used in the shipyard, construction and building maintenance sectors. More than 100 Oshkosh products are operating at airports in Beijing, Shanghai and Lhasa.

China Daily