CLEVELAND (Sept. 19, 2012)—China's Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. Ltd. is planning to set up a distribution and sales subsidiary in the U.S. next year as it prepares to move more aggressively into the North American market, starting with a new premium brand, Arisun, company executives revealed at the International Tire Exhibition & Conference in Cleveland.
Hangzhou Zhongce officials are still evaluating sites on the West Coast for the new subsidiary, to be called ZC Rubber American Inc., according to Larry Williams of L.J. Williams Consultants L.L.C., who is advising Hangzhou Zhongce on the move.
Arisun brand tires, which are available now, hit the market with the advantage of already being verified as SmartWay fuel-efficient products under the Environmental Protection Agency's fuel-efficiency program, Williams said.
The brand is available in steer, drive and trailer fitments, in a range of popular sizes and designs engineered specifically for North American road conditions.
The Hangzhou Zhongce executives on hand at ITEC declined to quantify the firm's specific sales goals for the U.S., but the company derives about 5 percent of its global sales, or roughly $230 million, from business in North America. Overall Hangzhou Zhongce generates about 70 percent of its sales domestically but said it expects the domestic/export ratio to move closer to 50/50 in the coming few years as exports expand.
Hangzhou Zhongce is 75-percent owned by the Chinese government, with the remainder being held by institutional investors.