Industry Sees Mergers As Key To Survival
by David McMullan, International Editor of China Motor Magazine
companies consolidate for survival and dominance
Last Christmas I hosted the Chongqing motorcycle industry. The meeting, at my house, was a success, as most attendees agreed that they were facing the same problems when considering the future direction of the industry.
Inspired by this I started the Chongqing Motorcycle Industry Council, members of which would convene on a monthly basis in an informal fashion to discuss future export market development and technical upgrading. The council includes export clerks and managers, technical and research and development staff and of course journalists. All are agreed on an industry future through merger.
Back in 2009 Chinese motorcycle heavyweight Loncin bought out fellow manufacturers Kinlon, adding their weight to a company which already boasted a technical working relationship with BMW. This merger propelled Loncin to the status as biggest motorcycle exporter in China and was thought to be a sign of the shape of things to come. Although the motorcycle giants are safe enough in their autonomy, the smaller sized companies are busily vacuuming each other up. Continue reading
conceptions about china may be incomplete
When it comes to opinions, those regarding China by Westerners seldom rise to superlative. From child labor sweatshops to cheap plastic trinkets to shoddily constructed knockoffs to IP piracy, the average take is commonly one of polluted cities and human rights abuses. Apple’s iPhones aside.
SapientNitro Global Marketing Strategy VP Freddy Laker tackles the existing memes with a compelling view of an alternate digital universe that’s on track to provide over half of all online content by 2015. More revealing is his take on the web landscape trod by Chinese, with same as, yet different, versions of familiar check-ins like facebook, Groupon, twitter, etc.
Does the electronic firewall separating the PRC from our digital daily life matter? Apparently not, as the Chinese entrepreneurial spirit has spawned look-alikes in a stunning variety of flavors, all without missing a beat.
This slideshare adaptation of a 2012 SWSWi preso “China – Will It Redefine Our Digital Landscape?” is a half-hour peek into a world I didn’t imagine existed. Bonus footage: Laker’s unique strategy for assimilation into China’s culture. Hint: TMZ meets ET, hatches HuffPo hybrid.
The media circus has come and left town since we last considered the impact on youth powersports as a result of the Consumer Products Safety Commission’s interpretation of how much lead should kids be allowed to eat. (Hint: none.)
Malcolm Smith’s protest drew the attention of SoCal’s news outlets and a nice mention in USA Today, along with links on bike blogs throughout the land. Which got me to thinking, how much lead is too much? For instance, working my way through the University of Florida included a stint at the Gainesville Sun. This was at the dawn of what would briefly be known as cold type, or the sunset of hot type. Continue reading
Cycle World editor David Edwards bells the cat with his web preview of May’s editorial on the unintended consequences of the Consumer Products Safety Commission’s ban on lead-containing products used by children.
Meanwhile, offroad star and industry icon Malcolm Smith has scheduled a media event/protest/back at ya for Thursday, March 19, at his dealership to highlight the problem faced by hundreds of dealers and thousands of enthusiasts nationwide as a result of the lead ban. Continue reading
Harley’s Hog Club notwithstanding, snorting pig brains might cause, among other things, numbness and weakness in the extremities.
According to a story in the Washington Post, some of the folks working at Quality Pork Processor’s “head table” reported the symptoms after, um, using compressed air to remove the deceased porker’s former thought processor, a process referred to as “blowing brains” which researchers now think may have atomized some of the material that was subsequently inhaled.
Everything but the oink? You betcha. The product is shipped to, among other recipients, Korea and China.
No sooner had we wondered out loud about the problematic issue posed by the brand extension “made in china” than a report by Bloomberg News pointed towards a call for mandatory Federal regulation and oversight of the domestic atv market by an industry that’d fiercely opposed any such meddling in prior years. What changed?
Internet sales. Home delivery. And a tripling in unit sales to around 400,000 in 2006 for a Chinese product which costs roughly a third of their better branded counterparts. Who, by the way, saw same period sales slip by about 30,000 machines to 750,000 atvs. Some might see a trend at work.
Last week’s news about yet another defective Chinese export — this time, automobile tires sold by New Jersey importer Foreign Tire Sales — begins to point to a potentially serious trouble spot for the powersports market.
The tires in question suffer from tread separation as a result of a glue strip left out in the manufacturing process. The product joins a list of recent stories that include poison toothpaste and toy train sets, adulterated seafood and deadly pet food.
What’s this got to do with powersports? Several years ago, in a very limited product category, one distributor went to it’s Chinese vendor for a wide tire tranny extension. Cost effective: sure. At least partly because the critical heat treat portion of the process was left out, resulting in a very expensive stripping of the splines from the main shaft after about 50 feet on the highway.
It’s safe to say this aftermarket industry would be on life support without the economic advantage provided by Chinese manufacturing. It’s also self-evident that the continuing pr disasters of Chinese exports as a whole could very easily taint the powersports product segment.
Obviously, what’s needed here is a quick application of Good Housekeeping’s Seal of Approval. It may not be out of the question for our industry to perform a sourcing check to assure consumers our products are safe — ahead of the curve.