Foreign markets Taiwanese machine tool manufacturer seek new growth opportunities

Editor: Theresa Knell

The big neighbor China is no longer growing as usual. Taiwan's machine tool manufacturers are therefore reorienting themselves not only towards new sales markets, but also towards new products.

In the course of industry 4.0 and an increasing degree of automation, Taiwan's machine tool industry wants to rid itself from its dependence on China.
In the course of industry 4.0 and an increasing degree of automation, Taiwan's machine tool industry wants to rid itself from its dependence on China.
(Source: Itasse)

In view of the slowdown in trade between the USA and the People's Republic of China and in international demand, Taiwan's machine tool industry remains cautious in its outlook for 2019: Ingo Chen, Chairman of the Machine Tool Committee at Taiwan's Tami Mechanical Engineering Association, presented the industry’s expectations at the opening of the Timtos 2019 trade fair

Weakening growth in machine tool exports

Last year, the industry's exports rose by 9.5 % to $ 3.656 billion, but growth remained below that of 2017, when export growth reached 15.3 %. Forming machines have been hit harder, reports Wen Lung Hsiao, Chairman of Tami's forming machines committee. From January to November 2018, Taiwan's exports in this sector fell by 5.3 % to $ 530. In addition to the PRC, the main sales markets include the USA, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Turkey. "Taiwan's exports of forming machinery to China have suffered from the trade war with the US, while exports to the US have risen slightly," he said. Hsiao expects growth for automated systems, with exports to India, Vietnam, Turkey and the USA benefiting most. The PRC also remains to offers great potential due to its domestic demand. He assumes that demand will remain subdued during the first half of 2019 and will not pick up until the second half of the year.

"I think now is the right time for companies to adjust their growth rate and reorganize their market strategy," Chen continued. For several years now, some Taiwanese machine tool manufacturers have been setting up further production facilities in Vietnam, Indonesia and other South Asian countries. "This expansion has been successful and is now one of the ways to better spread market risk," he explained. Especially in India and Vietnam, Tami Chairman Alex Ko also sees business opportunities for the industry, he said at the opening of the Timtos.

Taiwan's government supports medium-sized machine tool manufacturers, among other things, by promoting the "Smart Machine Box", a simple device for the implementation of industry 4.0, Chen continued. To date, 1300 such boxes have been installed, and 1500 more are to be added this year.

Timtos machine tool fair bigger than ever before

The Timtos trade fair was held in Taipei at the beginning of March as a showcase for Taiwan's machine tool industry. Thanks to a second hall at the Nangang Exhibition Centre, for the first time more than 1,200 exhibitors were able to participate this year. According to Ko, Timtos will become the third largest machine tool fair in the world after EMO and IMTS. The exhibiting companies placed particular emphasis on Industry 4.0 and digitalization in industry.

This article was first published by MM MaschinenMarkt.

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Original by Stéphane Itasse / Translation by Alexander Stark