Established over 20 years ago by eight people with CNY 5,00,000 ($80,000) bank loan, Zoomlion today has grown to $13 billion Group. Zoomlion now has the largest product range with 13 categories, 86 product series and over 800 types. In an exclusive interaction with EQUIPMENT INDIA, Shirley Liu, General Manager, Mobile Crane Overseas Company, Zoomlion Group, speaks on their growth strategies in the Indian market and their focus on safety. Excerpts from the interview.
In mobile cranes segment, how much is Zoomlion´s footprint in the global market? Currently, Zoomlion´s mobile crane branch company has 41 offices and 45 regional dealers globally. The mobile crane business has achieved over $260 million sales in the non-Chinese market last year. We expect this business to increase about 25 per cent.
How is the company positioned in the Indian market?
With infrastructure sector being the prime focus for the new Modi-led government, the demand for mobile cranes should pick up very soon. There should also be increased demand for new power plants, roads and new railway lines. The government has already sanctioned or in the process of sanctioning some major projects. This decision if carried out wisely by the government will definitely give a push to our business. We can see a stunning future for mobile cranes business in India.
What are your India-specific strategies?
Our strategy in India is 20:80. About 20 per cent of major engineering companies contribute approximately 80 per cent of our mobile crane sales. This means engineering companies are our major customers. We also care about rental companies and small and medium-sized engineering companies as they play a crucial role as they involve sub contractors in the projects.
To be No.1 company in India will always be our prime focus. We have already won this position in some capacity cranes segment, such as 75T truck crane and 260T crawler crane products. We offer up to 200T truck cranes, up to 2,000T all terrain cranes and up to 3,200T crawler cranes. In the Indian market, 55T and 75T truck crane and 80T and 260T crawler cranes play a major role.
Will you be continuing with multiple dealers concept for multiple products?
Yes, we are continuing with multiple dealers concept for multiple products. At least two dealers in each product will be required. In this way, we can have more focused partners in different regions to make sure each enquiry and service issues to be attended.
Are you planning to invest in India for manufacturing base and back-up support facilities?
From the customers´ point of view, the Indian market is quite interesting as they always look for value for money as well as in-time after-sales support and supply of spare parts. Our central spares warehouse in Mumbai has already been in use for some years. It really helps us to provide spare parts service to the customer. To meet Indian customers´ needs, we are planning to establish one workshop to manufacture mobile cranes.
Brief us on the latest machine control and safety in your range of crawlers and truck cranes.
At Zoomlion, we give top priority to safety of cranes along with their quality and performance. We always understand that safety at work site is of prime importance while working on a big crane. If the equipment meets an accident, it may not only cause breakdown, but also be a threat to human life. Being a responsible brand, Zoomlion never compromises with safety. We follow international quality and safety standards such as ISO9000, ISO14001, BS OHSAS 18001, ANSI, CE, DIN, GOST, RTN, etc.
Accordingly, Zoomlion cranes are equipped with latest technology to ensure safety. For example, Zoomlion QY75 truck crane is equipped with the latest advanced safety devices such as hoisting limit switch, hook safety device, lowering limit switch, the fifth outrigger overpressure protection device, two-way hydraulic lock, balance valve, relief valve, to name a few.
How strong is your presence in higher capacity cranes (above 500T in crawlers and truck cranes)?
Zoomlion is the first company in China to manufacture high capacity crane 3,200T. With our strong R&D and huge manufacturing facilities, we have been designing and supplying high capacity cranes all over the world including India. So for both crawler and truck cranes above 500T capacity our products are well competent to fulfill expectations of project sites. In higher capacity cranes, Zoomlion has more than 32 per cent share in the Chinese market. We have already sold three units of 600T cranes in India and one unit of 800T crane in Iran. We firmly believe more and more customer will select Zoomlion and be satisfied with the performance of Zoomlion higher capacity cranes.
Over 90 per cent of the mobile crane market is dominated by PnC cranes. In such a scenario, how good are the prospects for truck cranes for different applications?
Though PnC also comes under crane category, it cannot perform jobs in projects where high lifting height, lifting ranges and high load capacity cranes are required. PnC equipment are difficult to work with in urban infrastructure projects due to space constraints. In such a scenario, truck crane becomes vital.
With the formation of new government and their mandate, the urban infrastructure is expected to grow unprecedentedly. The demand for truck crane is expected to be very high in the next few years. Zoomlion will focus on the range of 50-350T cranes in India, and will take 40 per cent market share this year.
What makes Zoomlion´s range different from others?
We always focus to deliver value for money to the customer with assurance of quality, performance and timely service. We believe that after-sales service is the most important factor and we never compromise on this aspect. Our service is the best in India with our trained team of engineers and huge spare parts stock in Mumbai. Our advantage over other brands is quality, price, service and most importantly, our brand name, which makes us favourite among the customers.
Brief us on the initiatives on operators training.
Training is of critical importance while using big equipment. An untrained operator may reduce the life of equipment by wrong and risky operation of crane, while sometimes he/she may also be a cause of accidents. Taking a strong note on safety, Zoomlion always have been conducting on-site and indoor training for operators under the guidance of experts. We have regular training programmes in India for our customers´ operators. This year, we will take more training courses both in our branch office in Mumbai and customers´ job sites.
What was Zoomlion´s turnover in the crawler and truck-mounted cranes segment last year? How much do you expect this fiscal?
Last year the turnover in the crawler and truck-mounted cranes segment was about $1 billion and we expect this to be increased by 20 per cent.