EBM-Papst has started to build a new plant in Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi Province in China. The company has a sophisticated strategy in place for the Asian market.
Asia plays a special role for the Mulfingen-based company. “The Asian and especially the Chinese market show the highest growth rates worldwide in all market segments of the EBM-Papst Group,” reports Thomas Nürnberger, Managing Director of EBM-Papst China. “The demand for our products on the Asian market is constantly increasing so that we need further production capacities in addition to our plant in Shanghai,” explains Stefan Brandl, Chairman of the Management Board of the EBM-Papst Group.
EBM-Papst China manufactures axial and centrifugal fans with up to 4 kW drive power on site, as Nürnberger further explains. In addition, customer-specific systems for the automotive, industrial drive technology and white goods industries are manufactured locally: “Only products whose quantities are too small for localisation are imported,” says the managing director.
It is the company's strategy to be present on Asian markets not only with local production but also with local development: With a development team of 50 engineers in China, motors and fans are developed and adapted specifically for the Asian market. “Our Chinese R&D location thus offers the opportunity to exploit the advantages of the so-called China Speed. In China, we need less time to turn an idea into a commercial product,” says the managing director.
“The requirements of our Chinese customers have risen sharply in recent years,” explains Nürnberger. In terms of quality as well as performance and acoustics, Chinese customers today demand products that are comparable to those in Germany. According to the managing director, Chinese customers attach great importance not only to the product but also to local customer care and service. “Here, too, EBM-Papst China has gained a competitive advantage through its strong local presence,” he says. These customers are becoming increasingly important for the company. “Since the start of business in China over 25 years ago, the proportion of Chinese customers has steadily increased. Today, Chinese companies account for 70 % of the company's turnover. Subsidiaries of existing customers worldwide account for around 30% of sales in China,” explains Nürnberger.
Product pirates are still a nuisance. “We locate plagiarisms in a targeted manner or have them made available by our customers. Both the appearance and the technical data of our products are copied. Our patent attorneys then take action against infringements of industrial property rights. From our point of view, however, the sanctions against product piracy are still too lenient,” says Nürnberger. According to Nürnberger, with the development of ever new products and the permanent improvement of existing series products, Mulfinger is able to defend its technical lead time and again. “We are convinced that the quality and performance of the original will prevail in the end,” he says.
The decision for the new location near the city of Xi'an with its twelve million inhabitants is based on the company's high availability of skilled workers and its logistical connections. “The new location in Xi'an, the third-largest university city in China, also offers the opportunity to expand development activities in China,” adds Nürnberger.