Kion Group opens new forklift truck plant in China
At the end of last year the Kion Group AG officially opened its new counterbalance truck plant in the Chinese city of Jinan (Shandong province). In addition, it also laid the foundation stone for an additional plant for supply chain solutions in the immediate vicinity that will house a technology centre and state-of-the-art manufacturing lines.
Gordon Riske, chief executive officer of the Kion Group, spoke at the ceremony in Jinan via video link, he said, “These new facilities will help the Kion Group to forge ahead with its growth strategy in China and expand its product portfolio in both operating segments in one of the world’s most important and fastest-growing markets for material handling equipment.”
Kion Group is investing around €140 million in the two future-oriented plants, plus an R&D centre and a technology centre. The Kion Group plans to create more than 1000 new jobs in Jinan in the medium term. More than 4600 of the Kion Group’s almost 40,000-strong workforce are already based in China.
CP Quek, member of the executive board of Kion Group AG and responsible for the ITS business in the Asia Pacific and Americas regions said, “The new forklift truck plant in Jinan is a decisive step in our ‘Growing in China’ initiative. China offers so much growth potential for us.
“According to the World Industrial Truck Statistics (WITS), it accounted for around 40% of the global market for industrial trucks in 2020 in terms of unit orders. China also remains one of the world’s most important growth markets. We want to harness the potential of this important market even more effectively and significantly expand our position as a leading intralogistics supplier in China.”
The targeted development of business in Asia, and in China in particular, plays a key role in the Kion Group’s growth strategy. And with the new plant for counterbalance trucks, the Group aims to significantly expand its product portfolio in order to tap into growth opportunities in the value segment worldwide and benefit even more from the increasing electrification of industrial trucks in China. On a site covering almost 223,000sqm – equivalent to more than 31 soccer fields – the Group has built a state-of-the-art research and development centre, a training centre and offices next to a high-tech plant for producing industrial trucks on behalf of the Kion brand companies Linde Material Handling and Baoli. The KION Group has established a new company for this purpose, in which Kion has a stake of 95% and Weichai Power Co Ltd – the Kion Group’s anchor investor – has 5%. This equity investment of Weichai Power, which is also based in Shandong province and manufactures powertrain systems, commercial vehicles, and vehicle electronics, ensures that the Kion Group has a strong local presence in the region.
The plant for the Supply Chain Solutions segment, which is still to be built, will be used to support local research and development, manufacture key Dematic products including Dematic Multishuttle, and provide customers access to emerging warehouse technologies. This automation solutions plant is scheduled to come on stream in the first quarter of 2023. There are also plans to build a dedicated technology centre for customer visits next to the approximately 28,000sqm production plant.
The Kion Group expects the market for supply chain solutions in the Asia Pacific region to grow by around 13% a year over the next few years. Hasan Dandashly, the member of the executive board of Kion Group AG responsible for the Supply Chain Solutions segment worldwide said, “Dematic has undergone rapid development in China in more than 20 years. As a global leader in supply chain automation we have been at the forefront servicing our customers’ e-commerce solutions.”
The construction of the new plant is another important step in the business expansion of Dematic and the entire Kion Group. According to eMarketer’s forecast, China will generate e-commerce revenue of around €2.4 trillion this year, accounting for nearly 57% of the global total. This will make it the first country in history to make more than half of its retail sales digitally. “And we want to take full advantage,” said Dandashly.