Market Survey China: Comparative analysis of the excavator industries in China and Japan

Editor: Susanne Hertenberger

The excavator industries in China and Japan are both growing but nevertheless, there are big different between the two countries e.g. concerning development of the market, number of sales or working hours of excavator inventory.

Industrial trend comparison between the excavator industries in China and Japan (Japan - left axis, China - right axis).
Industrial trend comparison between the excavator industries in China and Japan (Japan - left axis, China - right axis).
(Source: Public data collection)

From the industrial trend of the excavator industry in Japan, the year of 1990 is the peak point of the growth period, followed by an adjustment period of 10 years. Taking the excavator sales from 1993 to 2016 in China as the comparative interval, we can find that there is a rapid development period of almost 20 years from 1993 to 2011, while the industrial output of Japan’s excavator industry experienced a continuous growth period of 25 years from 1965 to 1990. Due to the RMB 4 trillion program from 2010 to 2011 and continuous production capacity expansion in China, the fluctuation of sales in the Chinese market from 2008 to 2012 is significant. Thus, in order to make better comparison with the Japanese market, we have shifted the sales curve to find the relative bottom. It can be observed that, the Japanese market hit the bottom in 2001 and was collecting its pace with positive sales recovery after a destocking period as long as five years. In terms of subsequent sales of excavators, Japan’s output value has reached a record, with sales rising from the bottom 74,000 units to 153,000 units in 2016.


In terms of absolute sale, the Japanese market’s current domestic sale is about 153,000 units while the Chinese market’s domestic sale in 2016 is only 70,000 units. However, in comparing the maximum and minimum values of the excavator sales in both China and Japan in the last 10 years, the sales lie in the interval of 70,000 ~ 160,000 units substantially. In 2009, the sales in Japan were only 44,000 units. Although the sales of excavators in Japan and China are equivalent, the working hours of excavator inventory are different. According to historical statistics, the number of service hours of excavators in China is generally 2.5~3 times of that in Japan. Nevertheless, in consideration of the investment amount in the Chinese economic magnitude and Japan’s current investment amount, the incremental potential of the Chinese excavator market is worthy of further exploitation.