Sany's bid to usurp Caterpillar

Updated: 2012-10-15 23:35

By TAN YINGZI in Peachtree City, Georgia (China Daily)

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Joe Hanneman, who joined Sany America this summer to lead its marketing team, said the company also needs to overcome negative opinions about goods designed or manufactured by a Chinese company.

"Many North Americans will automatically think that it's not something of high quality," he said. "It's a stereotype and inaccurate. So we have to get people past that idea."

In September, Forbes put Sany at the 85th on its 2012 list of the world's 100 most innovative companies, the second year in a row Sany made the magazine's ranking.

Sany invests 5 percent to 7 percent of annual sales revenue in R&D, higher than the industry average. Over 7,000 Sany employees are involved in R&D, and half of them have master's degrees or doctorates, according to the company.

"People do overlook the fact that Sany is a private company, with no government ownership. This, along with Sany's decision to locate this facility during the largest global economic slowdown in the last half century, has somewhat overshadowed the company in the eyes of industry watchers," Matt Forshee, president and CEO of Fayette County Development Authority, told China Daily.

Forshee was the lead local person involved in the original recruitment in 2007 of Sany America to locate their US headquarters and manufacturing facility in the community. He has traveled to Sany's headquarters in Changsha, Hunan province, and witnessed the facilities and production capabilities of the Chinese company.

He believed that Sany America will rapidly achieve its goal.

"They are determined, dedicated and primed for great growth and we are delighted that they chose Peachtree City, Fayette County and the State of Georgia as their home in the United States," he said.

Tang first heard Sany Heavy Industries Chairman Liang's slogan, "Learn from CAT, surpass CAT" when he attended the semiannual meeting of the board of directors in August at company headquarters in Changsha.

In the first half of 2012, Sany's sales revenue rose 1.6 percent, with $1.3 billion in profit, while the average across China's construction-equipment market was a 28 percent decline in revenue due to reduced demand and slower economic growth.

To become a truly global industry power like Caterpillar, or CAT as it's known, Sany is striving for a balance in developed and developing countries to diversify its revenue streams, Frank said.

"Sany has benefited from its fabulous growth in domestic China, but they know that growth won't last forever," he said. "When the day comes that China cools down, we don't want to wake up and find ourselves having 98 percent of revenue in domestic China.

"Personally, I would love to see Sany have over 40 percent of its revenue outside China."

In 2011, less than 10 percent of the company's sales were from abroad.

Its Georgia-based US arm is a big part of Sany's global blueprint.

"Traditionally in our business, if you work successfully in Europe, the United States and Japan, you could become a global competitor. The rise of China has changed all that; you have companies like Sany that can dominate China and, in so doing, dominate the world.

"Sany is No 6 in the world. However, to ultimately become a top-three player, we have to have success in North America and Europe," he said.

In Europe, Putzmeister was the role model for Sany since Liang co-founded a small factory in 1989. After 23 years, the acquisition of the German company made Sany the world's leading pump manufacturer.

In the United States, "We have been looking up to CAT for a long time and we are very much looking forward to such an opportunity", Tang said with a smile.

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