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Great Chinese adventures in their many forms

First publishedin Aggregates Business International
November December 2018
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How many global quarrying and construction equipment media writers does it take to push a minibus out of a muddy bog on a dirt road through an eastern China paddy field? Five is the answer based on my own experience in July 2017. Our party had been planning to fly from Linyi to Shanghai after a very interesting couple of days with a leading Chinese equipment manufacturer, but violent storms had cancelled all flights and train travel out of the city in Shandong province. Our hosts miraculously came to the rescue in arranging a minibus to take us on a nine-hour road trip back to Shanghai, but due to many trees having fallen on many major highways, we were often forced off-road and through many farming fields and villages. It was an unexpected and highly enjoyable 600-kilometre adventure, despite our clothes being somewhat worse for wear after our close-up encounter with the bog.

During previous work trips to China, I’ve won a frantic dash involving myself and a man holding a giant clucking chicken in a cage to the last remaining seat on a train from Shanghai to Kunshan.

Another (this time) late-night dash saw me buying any clothes within arm’s reach from a swanky Shanghai department store, minutes before it was due to close, after my suitcase failed to arrive off a connecting flight from Moscow. It finally turned up five days later, just about intact!

I am reminiscing about the above experiences as I will soon be flying back out to China, to attend LiuGong’s 60th anniversary celebrations at the Chinese global construction and quarrying equipment giant’s headquarters in Liuzhou, southern China, followed by four days with Mike Woof, editor of Aggregates Business International’s sister Route One Publishing magazine, World Highways, covering the biennial bauma China exhibition in Shanghai (27-30 November).

The world’s second largest construction and quarrying equipment exhibition, after bauma Munich, the 2018 staging of bauma China is likely to see new records set for exhibitor and attendee numbers. It will also see the return of Caterpillar after six years. Other major global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) showcasing their new and latest machines include Volvo Construction Equipment, the Wirtgen Group, Liebherr, Sandvik and Powerscreen. They will be joined by leading Chinese global market equipment manufacturers such as SANY, Zoomlion and XCMG. With a tipped 30% year-on-year rise in Chinese construction equipment sales in China in 2018, the exhibition is being staged during a period of strong unit demand.

Outside China, the wider Asia-Pacific construction and quarrying equipment market is also very buoyant, creating exciting commercial opportunities for major global OEMs, including Metso. This issue of ABI includes an in-depth feature on how the Finnish global market
manufacturer has developed a strong Asia-Pacific market position, with its regional operation spanning 19 countries, plus Hong Kong. As Suhen Agarwal, vice president – sales & services, aggregates, Metso Asia-Pacific, notes, Asia-Pacific countries are seeing gross domestic product (GDP) growth of more than 4-5% – with such levels forecast to be sustained over the next two years at least. Such sound economies are the perfect platform for investment in new infrastructure, and countries including Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam are doing just that, with megaprojects in each of those nations already underway. Next year I will be writing more about the quarrying equipment used to produce aggregates products for some of these high-profile infrastructure works. I also hope to visit some Asia-Pacific countries to get a more close-up look at one of the world’s most vibrant regional aggregates marketplaces.

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