Forklift industry to move into high gear

09:35, July 20, 2010      

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Forklift sales in China more than doubled in the first half of the year and are poised for further growth in the full year, industry experts said on Monday.

China will continue to lead the global market and the gap with US, the next biggest player, is set to widen further, they said.

During the first six months of the year, domestic forklift sales rose crossed the 90,000-unit barrier, up nearly 113 percent from a year earlier.

"It is a huge boost for the industry as China has been the only market which showed growth last year, compared with the more than 40 percent decline in the global forklift market," said CP Quek, chief executive of Linde (China), a leading forklift producer.

Last year, forklift sales rose slightly by 4 percent amid the global financial crisis, with nearly 90,000 units sold in the nation, helping China fractionally surpass the US as the world's top forklift market.

"China has now contributed to at least a quarter of the world's forklift market and will still grow in the future," said Quek.

A worker from a factory in Haikou, Hainan province, stacks stock with a forklift. Zhang Mao / For China Daily

He expects China to sell 170,000 to 180,000 units of forklifts for the whole year, and distance itself from the recovering US market.

According to Quek, the Chinese government's focus on infrastructure construction and the stimulus policies have helped boost demand for forklifts.

The fast pace of mechanization and automatization amid rising labor costs have also buoyed demand for forklifts.

"Even the privately owned small brickyards in Henan province are now using forklifts to handle bricks instead of the original dead lifts," said Quek.

The German company's sales almost doubled in the first quarter, maintaining its leading position in the foreign branded forklift segment. "We expect sales to grow faster than the industry average this year," said Quek.

The biggest domestic forklift producer Anhui Heli Co Ltd sold 270,000 units of forklifts in the first half, with a year-on-year growth rate of 79.8 percent, according to Nanjing Securities. The company earlier this month reported a predicted net profit growth of between 2,700 percent and 3,200 percent in the first six months.

"It will be news if any industry player decides to ignore the China market," said Quek.

Source:China Daily


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