Feeling the pinch

4 November 2008

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The tremors of the global economic crisis are being felt in every nook and cranny of the world's markets. And China is one developing economy on the cusp of uncertain times, as last week's CeMAT Asia show, which took place in Shanghai, proved.

"Growth rates will slow," confirmed one lifting equipment manufacturer, while two high profile remote control firms agreed that 2009, even in a market which has skyrocketed over recent years, will represent new challenges.

The mood was certainly different at the 2008 Chinese forum of new crane technology, which was staged offsite by the China Heavy Machinery Industry Association (CHMIA) and the Beijing Material Handling Research Institute. After all, the last time this biannual event was staged, any downturn was unforeseeable.

The CHMIA has 22 branches, one of which is the Material Handling Council of China (MHCC). MHCC secretary general Liqun Xiao says China's material handling industry is still growing "at a high level." From January to July this year, the grow rate of total output and sales volume was 33.30%. However, he adds, "some leaders of crane companies think the industry will be affected next year."

The grow rate of the crane market will be expected to slow down a little more in 2009, but it will still be around 20%. "It cannot be estimated beyond 2009 because of a lot uncertain factors," says Xiao.

A perspective was offered by Hal Vandiver, who is executive vice president, business development, at the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA). His presentation to some 300 delegates charted the state of a comparatively mature marketplace. But they now share more in common than once before.

More will be posted here soon, while the first part of a round-up from the show floor will appear in the November issue.

Richard Howes, Editor

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