Kion building new plant in China

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

FRANKFURT – Kion Group AG is expanding its business in China and has begun building an additional plant for the production of counterbalance trucks in Jinan in Shandong Province.

The project is expected to cost approximately €100 million, and create over 800 jobs by 2025 with its new plant in eastern China.

“China has recovered quickly from the coronavirus crisis and as one of the fastest growing markets worldwide, it plays a key role in our strategy,” said Gordon Riske, CEO of Kion Group AG.

He noted that according to the World Industrial Truck Statistic (WITS), the Chinese economy accounts for around 30 percent of the global industrial truck market and that – based on Kion’s Group estimates – this share is set to rise.

Kion aims to extend its product portfolio through the new plant, with a focus on the lower end of the market and the trend toward greater electrification of industrial trucks in China. Kion has established a new company for this purpose, where it has a stake of 95 percent and Weichai Power, the primary investor in the Kion Group, has five percent.

Weichai Power is also based in Shandong Province and manufactures powertrain systems, commercial vehicles and vehicle electronics.

“This historic moment once again underscores the close and collaborative work relationship between the Kion Group and the Weichai Group,” said Xuguang Tan, the chairman and CEO of the Weichai Group. “We began our productive and highly successful partnership in 2012, and the new plant in Jinan is expected to be a further milestone in this growth strategy.”

“We believe that our highly automated future plant, the new Kion Value Competence Center adjacent to it and the expansion of our sales and service network will create the ideal conditions for us to better serve our Linde Material Handling and Baoli customers in the fast-moving Chinese market and to respond more effectively than ever to global demand in the value segment,” added C.P. Quek, member of the executive board of Kion Group AG and Chief Asia Pacific & Americas Officer.

The new plant is expected to come on stream in 2022. On a site covering almost 223,000 square metres – equivalent to more than 31 soccer fields – the Group is also building a research and development centre, a training centre and administrative offices next to the advanced production plant where industrial trucks will be manufactured for Kion’s Linde Material Handling and Baoli brands.

Kion Group brand companies have had a presence in the Chinese market for many years, making Kion not only the country’s leading foreign provider of industrial trucks and warehouse technology in terms of revenue, but also number three within China. Linde Material Handling started production in China as part of a joint venture in Xiamen, Fujian province, more than 25 years ago before acquiring all the shares in that company in 1999.

Kion also opened a second warehouse truck plant, mainly manufacturing Linde trucks, close to its site in Xiamen in spring 2020. The Kion Group invested around €13 million in this new plant.

Baoli has been part of the Kion Group since 2009 and manufactures industrial trucks at its site in Jingjiang, in Jiangsu Province. Dematic is the most recent member of the Kion Group and a global leader in intelligent supply chain, software, and automation solutions. The company has been manufacturing systems for the Chinese market in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, since 2006. The Kion Group currently employs over 4,000 individuals in China.