SHANGHAI, China — Shandong Linglong Rubber Co. Ltd., maker of Linglong-, Shanling- and Leao-brand tires, is building a $200 million tire plant dedicated to ultra-high-performance passenger tires for export.
Due on stream by mid-2008, the 430,400-sq.-ft. factory in Zhaoyuan City, China, will be Shandong Linglong´s third plant. It will have an annual production capacity of 10 million tires, raising the firm´s overall capability to 30 million units, according to Jiang Guibo, business chief, import and export.
The new capacity should help push the export share of the company´s annual sales from 2008 to more than 50 percent, Jiang said in an interview at the recent Citexpo 2007 trade show in Shanghai.
The company is focused on increasing its exports. "We must go the international way, sell more to the international market," Jiang said.
The new plant is being built adjacent to the company´s existing radial passenger and truck tire operation in Zhao-yuan City, Shandong Province. The firm has another factory nearby that makes bias-ply tires.
With 2006 sales of $752 million, Shandong Linglong is China´s fifth-largest tire manufacturer. Sales are expected to exceed $1 billion this year, Jiang said, and more than double by 2010 to $2.5 billion.
The company has 120 agents in 160 countries. In 2007, Shandong Linglong expects export sales of $460 million.
In 2006, Shandong Linglong exported $150 million worth of tires to North America, which accounts for 40 percent of its export market, Jiang said.
The company´s Linglong brand is distributed in the U.S. by Tire Masters International L.L.C. (truck, farm and industrial tires) and ZTI Tires Inc. (high-performance tires) and in Canada by Asia Pacific Products Ltd. Milestone Tire & Rubber Co. distributes the Leao truck tire brand.
In addition, Hercules Tire & Rubber Co. lists Shandong Linglong as one of its major private brand manufacturers.
The factory under construction is a long way from the company´s roots. Owner Wang Xi Cheng started in 1979 with a tire repair business and branched into new tire manufacturing in 1987.
Domestically, Shandong Linglong sells via 300 franchised shops and sales agents in every province.