Getting to know you: Access International talks to Beijing JingCheng's Su Jie
12 December 2008
Access equipment manufacturer Beijing JingCheng is preparing to enter the European market -- by learning it. Patrick Hill talked to chairman and chief executive officer Su Jie at APEX in Maastricht.
China's Beijing JingCheng Heavy Industries said it is exhibiting at APEX to better learn the European market. "As a responsible company, we must know the conditions of the market, we must understand how to enter it effectively. We must know our customers' needs," said Mr Su Jie, chairman and chief executive officer.
"One difficulty is that we don't have much understanding of distribution channels and the way equipment is sold. We don't know how spare parts and service are provided in Europe. In the beginning we developed products for the Chinese market. Now we need to know if our products are suitable for the European market."
Mr Su, the head of the 50-year old company whose main business is lifting devices, said, "One of our company's noteworthy features is applying the technologies of cranes. We think we have advantages from supplying equipment for working at height. We will develop a full range of access equipment, but right now our access equipment range is still growing."
"Our product development needs more time," said Mr Su. He continued, "JingCheng plans to develop its access equipment more for the Chinese market, first. Also, we want to export high value products. We need to modify our designs, and not all of our products will be exported. We will export step by step."
When asked if the company would compete on price, he said, "Yes, our products are less expensive, cost is one of our advantages. But our products are not of lower quality. Our quality is very high; we have paid even more attention to achieving high quality and high performance. We have the advantages of low cost and high efficiencies."
Mr Su pointed out that many components in JingCheng's products "...are imported from all over the world, many from Europe." Also helping corroborate the product quality Mr Su considers it important that the imported scissors have been certified to European standards by TÜV, and that the certification of the self-propelled booms is in-process.
Turning to the topic of after-sales service, Mr Su said, "We are conscious of the need to find dealers. At the beginning [of our efforts in Europe] we want more contact with many companies, not just a few. In the future, we could focus on one distributor for all of Europe."
The need to provide after-sales service might be immediate. The company sold its APEX show machines - GTB37; a 37 m working height self-propelled boom, GTJZ08 and GTJZ10; 10 m and 12 m working height scissors and GTWY14; a 14 m working height vertical mast - before the show to Polish equipment dealer Mega in Warsaw.
Although Mr Su seemed pleased to have sold the machines, he told AI, "We do not want to move hastily. We want to show our products, to show our brand, to make friends. At present we don't consider the sale as the most important thing. To make friends is more important."
The Chinese manager said he is eager for the show machines to go into service so that Beijing JingCheng can learn more about market needs. He said the company, which as been making scissor lifts and trailer-mounted platforms since 2003, "...needs to have a solid base for technical support."
Putting that base in place involves more than just shipping machines between China and Europe. Mr Su said, "When we have our service network in place, we will send our technical representatives to Europe and bring dealer people to China. Also, we have had South Asian customers. We have provided them with parts and services, and we have provided them with service manuals and other documents."
How quickly does JingCheng think it can move into Europe? Mr Su responded, "We don't have a definite plan. We know we must meet our customers' needs. It should be next year that we will have relationships with dealers. Before doing that, however, we must talk with customers. We must make them more confident to buy our products."