ST 003-12 Lohr, 2012-02-17

Bosch Rexroth Targeting Qualitative growth in China


Dr. Karl Tragl

The figures reflect the inexorable growth: By the end of this year at the latest, China is expected to overtake Japan as the world’s second largest economy. According to a study by Alix Partners, the Chinese mechanical engineering industry posted a sales volume of more than USD 300 billion in 2010 alone. This makes China by far the biggest mechanical engineering nation in the world. At the same time, exports levels also continue to grow: In 2010, Chinese manufacturers exported machinery and machine components worth over EUR 72 billion. Over the same period, imports totaled more than EUR 83 billion. According to most estimates, China is likely to show an export surplus in the field of mechanical engineering for the first time ever in 2011.

Chinese manufacturers are developing ever more complex machines and systems, and are beginning to target the mid to high-end sectors. This is in line with the current 5-year plan, which defines mechanical engineering as one of its strategic emerging industries — a key sector of vital importance to the national economy. Under plan, it is hoped the industry will occupy a leading global position in the next few years in the area of high-end production equipment.

“Future growth in global mechanical engineering will be predominantly driven by China,” confirms Dr. Karl Tragl, Chairman of the Executive Board of Bosch Rexroth AG. “Only companies that implement their own production, own development, and use local management in China will be able to take part in the growth.” Bosch Rexroth has been active in China since as early as the mid-1970s, and is close to the EUR 1 billion sales mark in the region.

As a supplier to the mechanical engineering market, Bosch Rexroth produces components and system solutions for mobile and industrial applications as well as for renewable energies at four manufacturing locations in China. “Bosch Rexroth has established its own R&D expertise in China, which we then use to develop products and solutions precisely optimized to meet regional requirements. Our developers work closely with their German colleagues in this respect,” says Fo-Wai Lau, Managing Director of Bosch Rexroth in China. System solutions developed in Asia for Asia always achieve a higher share of turnover. By developing products tailored to the Chinese market such as the CNC solution IndraMotion MTX micro for compact machine tools, or an energy-efficient system solution for mobile machines with a method of operation familiar to Asian operators, Rexroth has succeeded in tapping into market segments that were previously inaccessible to European companies.

“The topic of greater energy efficiency has become number-one priority for Chinese machine manufacturers,” explains Lau. Under the “Greentech Initiative,” the Chinese government has stipulated that energy intensity per unit of gross national product must fall by 16% by 2015. To meet this target, industrial companies are supposed to invest in more energy-efficient machinery and plants. “The Rexroth for Energy Efficiency system allows machine manufacturers to fully realize the energy efficiency potential in all drive and control technologies,” stresses Dr. Tragl. “Precisely because so many manufacturers in China are currently working on completely new concepts, they now have a unique opportunity to play a central role in completely transforming the latest state-of-the-art technology.”

However, these climate targets also open up significant market potential for European manufacturers, who already have extensive expertise in energy-efficient technologies. “Our integrated service network and local experience mean we can offer full support to small to mid-size providers in the Chinese market,” says Lau. By supplying components produced in China according to German quality standards, Rexroth is helping Chinese manufacturers to gain a foothold in international markets.

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