Street completed the agreement with NHM (which Pimblett said is one of the five biggest manufacturers in the country) in March this year, following 12 months of talks. A number of trademark and subsidiary issues prevented an immediate announcement but Street will send a team to China to start work on production before the end of August. Two members of staff will be relocated to China full-time, while more senior company members will spend shorter periods of time overseas.

Pimblett hopes that the first hoists will be available for sale in July next year. These will probably just be up to 5t capacity with the bigger units to follow further down the line. Hoists manufactured at NHM will be available only in China.

The deal will initially include the manufacture of the Street ZX range of hoists up to 25t, with plans to expand production to include 50t units within the next couple of years. This will include gantry cranes for indoor and outdoor installation, with single girder or double girder construction.

NHM will have access to Street Crane expertise and software to meet the handling needs of foundries, metal stockholding, engineering, automotive, glass makers, aerospace and other industries.

NHM, which is currently building a new 145,000 square metre production facility in a new industrial town on the Yangtze River, first attracted Street whilst Pimblett was visiting his son, who was living in the region. “They were the best company regarding quality control that I had come across there,” he said.


They were the best company regarding quality control that I had come across

Pimblett explained that there are two markets in China. First, he said, there is a top end market, where the likes of Konecranes and Demag (and previously Street to some extent) supply top-end European hoists to the “higher level” market. Secondly, added Pimblett, there is the traditional market, supplied by around eight manufacturers who manufacture more dated models for low prices. “These were initially licensed when the country was state owned,” he added.

Street believes it can capture the “middle ground” between the two markets and supply quality western hoists at affordable prices. Not as cheap as what Pimblett calls the “traditional” market can offer but, at the same time, not as expensive as what other manufacturers will charge.

“The market is still growing,” Pimblett said. “Like most industries in China it is reporting growth of around 10% every year.”

Most Chinese companies are seeking joint ventures with western manufacturers but Street believes this agreement offers both parties far bigger opportunities to capture a niche in the Chinese market.