BEIJING - Great Wall Motor Co Ltd, China's privately-owned automaker, is expanding its global footprint by setting up five new assembling plants and increasing shipments in the next few years.
Customers check out Great Wall sedans at the recent Auto China Exhibition in Beijing. [Photo/China Daily]
The company plans to establish assembly lines in the Philippines, Senegal, Bulgaria, Venezuela and Malaysia with local partners by the end of 2012, Wei Jianjun, chairman of Great Wall, said on Monday.
The five plants will have a capacity of over 100,000 units per year, he said.
Wei told China Daily that Great Wall has clinched initial agreements with local partners in South Africa, Brazil, Thailand and Turkey for manufacturing facilities in the near future.
The company has been one of the early movers in the auto mart and started exports in 1998. Since then it has seen a considerable pick up in export volumes.
During the first six months of the year, the company exported 30,000 units, a 51 percent increase over the same period last year.
"The export volume almost equals the total export numbers for 2009, and gives us confidence of meeting the export target of 60,000 units for this year. That also accounts for 15 percent of our output," said Wei.
He said Great Wall plans to boost export volumes to 540,000 units by 2015. Exports will account for 30 percent of the planned total sales of 1.8 million units by that time, he said.
"Frankly speaking, we achieve higher profit margins in overseas markets than domestic markets," said Wei.
The company said in a regulatory filing that export earnings in the first half rose to 159 million yuan ($23.47 million) from last year's 453,000 yuan.
Total revenue during the period rose 77 percent to 9.13 billion yuan, while net profit more than doubled to 907 million yuan.
"Other than the recovery of global automobile market, one of the key factors that will drive sales in overseas markets is our stable foothold in most of the developed countries. Four Great Wall vehicles have already got quality certification from European Union," said Wei.
The recognition has also helped Great Wall's sports-utility vehicle (SUV) Hover take the lead in sales in Australia during the first half.
The company surpassed peers like Kia's Sportage and Hyundai's Tucson in the Australian market.
"We plan to sell 9,000 units of our vehicles in Australia this year," said Wei.
Great Wall has sold its pickup trucks, SUVs and sedans to more than 100 countries, and set up assembling plants in Russia, Indonesia, Iran, Vietnam, Egypt and Ukraine.
According to Wei, Chinese automakers need to graduate from low-quality low-price, to good-quality low-price and good value for money vehicles.
"Great Wall is now making the transition and will focus more on quality and reliable products," said Wei.