CCTV Unveils: Why Are Chinese Tires in Short Supply?

Since 2023, there has been a significant recovery in the Chinese tire industry. Data indicates that, in 2023, the cumulative production of all-steel tires in China reached 139 million units, marking a 14% year-on-year increase. Semi-steel tire production also saw substantial growth, with a cumulative output of 591 million units, reflecting a 22% year-on-year.

The recovery momentum in the tire industry has continued into the beginning of 2024. According to a report on China CCTV Finance’s “Economic Information Broadcast,” many tire manufacturing companies are experiencing a significant increase in orders, to the point where demand is surpassing supply.

Reaching Record Highs: Tire Companies Experience Booming

According to reports, many manufacturing companies have tire orders scheduled for delivery two months later, and product inventory has been reduced to its lowest level.

Wang Dong, the Foreign Trade Director of a tire manufacturing company in Qingzhou, Shandong, mentioned that the current annual production capacity for tires in the company is around 17.5 million units. Since 2023, they have been operating at full capacity.

The annual production of semi-steel tires was approximately 9 million units in 2022 and increased to 11.8 million units in 2023. The overall annual production of all-steel tires has seen an increase of around 15%.

Wang Dong explained that in January of this year, the company received more than 1.1 million foreign trade orders, but the total foreign trade production capacity of the company is 600,000 units, which is insufficient to meet the order demand.

The person in charge of a tire manufacturing company in Qingdao also stated that since 2023, tire supply has consistently fallen short of demand. Additionally, the current tire inventory level is relatively low, reduced by nearly 40% compared to the previous year. Overall, looking at the entire year of 2024, the orders are expected to remain saturated, with demand outpacing supply.

Furthermore, Wanda Tire mentioned that with the continuous strong demand for travel, the prosperity of the tire industry keeps rising. Currently, the order book is full, especially for semi-steel tires, which are in high demand.

Linglong Tire also revealed that both domestic and international orders for semi-steel tires are consistently strong, exceeding production capacity. Moreover, there is still significant room for growth in orders for all-steel tires.

Setting Export Records: Chinese Tires in High Demand Overseas

In 2023, both the production and sales of automobiles in China exceeded 30 million units, reaching a historic high. The rapid growth in the production and sales of new energy vehicles played a significant role in driving the demand in the tire market.

On the other hand, a substantial increase in exports has also emerged as another key factor driving the significant growth in tire production and sales.

With the global tire market undergoing replacement and supporting recovery, Chinese tires have a significant advantage in cost-effectiveness in the context of high inflation in European and American markets. The export volume of semi-steel tires from China reached around 287 million units in 2023, representing a year-on-year increase of 20%.

A representative of a tire trading company in Qingdao, Shandong, stated that there is currently a robust demand from overseas customers, with orders pouring in.

In 2023, the export volume of tires for this company reached around 1.3 million units, marking an increase of over 30% compared to the previous year. The person in charge explained that the increase in demand for the export of semi-steel tires is particularly pronounced, and both they and the factories are facing queues for orders.

In terms of overseas demand, the Middle East market has experienced noticeable growth, and there has also been a significant increase in demand from Russia and Europe.

The Overseas Recognition of Chinese Tires is Increasing

Han Long, the General Manager of Foreign Trade at Shandong Haohua Tire, mentioned that customers who used to buy tires from leading international brands are now turning to Chinese tires. This shift is attributed to the high cost-effectiveness of Chinese tires. After the first transaction, customers exhibit a strong willingness to make repeat purchases.

Jiang Yun, a tire analyst at Zhuochuang Information, noted that favorable factors such as positive exchange rates, reasonable sea freight rates, and other benefits like high energy prices in Europe have positively influenced the export of Chinese tires.

Moreover, with the continuous advancement of the “Belt and Road” initiative in recent years and an increasing number of participating countries, the economies along the route are improving. This trend provides broad development opportunities for tire companies. Coupled with the continuous improvement and enhancement of the quality of Chinese tire products, their acceptance in overseas countries is also on the rise.

With a Positive Outlook on Tire Demand, Overseas Plant Construction by Companies Accelerates

With the overseas market demand booming and a substantial increase in tire exports, many tire companies are accelerating their pace in establishing factories abroad to further expand production capacity and prepare for future market competition.

Qin Jingbo, the Deputy General Manager of Qingdao Senkeer Tire, mentioned that the overall production capacity of their manufacturing bases in China and Thailand is 31 million units. However, this capacity is insufficient to meet the demand from orders. Senkeer Tire’s third production base is scheduled to be completed in Morocco in the second half of 2024, with an initial capacity of 6 million units. In addition, the factory in Spain is also in full swing in its preparations.

Qin Jingbo explained that since 2023, there has been a significant increase in export demand, with export orders currently accounting for around 80% of the overall sales volume. Establishing overseas factories provides certain advantages in terms of raw material and transportation costs. Additionally, it allows companies to navigate trade barriers, meeting the continuously growing export demand.

In recent times, several large domestic tire companies have announced plans to build factories overseas.

Triangle Tire’s First Venture into North America

On December 16, 2023, Triangle Tire’s subsidiary, Triangle Singapore, signed a joint venture agreement with TD Corporation in Mexico. They plan to invest $240 million to build a factory with an annual capacity of 6 million units for semi-steel radial tires in Mexico. This marks the first time a Chinese tire company has ventured into North America. Furthermore, Triangle’s plans for investing in and constructing a semi-steel radial tire factory in Mexico are also in progress.

On January 12th, the second phase of the General Corporation’s project in Cambodia officially began construction. In addition, Wanda Tire is actively advancing its factory construction plan in Cambodia. Following the establishment of factories in Thailand and Serbia, Linglong Tire is currently planning its third overseas factory.

It is evident that leading tire companies in China are rushing to fulfill orders, expand production capacity, and accelerate overseas expansion. The positive start to 2024 raises anticipation, and we await to see if this trend will continue throughout the year.

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