Chinese bus makers expand presence in Middle East market
Bonluck, a bus manufacturer in east China's Jiangxi Province, saw its first-quarter sales surge 96 percent year on year to 6.75 million U.S. dollars amid COVID-19.
The share of the Middle East market accounted for more than 40 percent of the company's total sales during the period despite the impact of the pandemic, said Li Han, deputy general manager of Bonluck.
Bonluck's sales show a snapshot of how Chinese-made buses are getting competitive and popular in Middle East countries, which have a great demand for road transportation.
"The pandemic has had a big impact on the traditional transportation industry, but we insist on doing what others cannot do. Despite the repeated production suspensions and resumptions, our brand has been well received by customers," said Li.
Most of the company's buses sold in the Middle East market are large ones equipped with about 50 seats, big luggage storage spaces, a driver lounge, and a toilet that can meet the needs of long-distance travel.
Bonluck is among a growing number of Chinese bus manufacturers which have been expanding their presence in the Middle East market in recent years.
Headquartered in Henan Province, China's leading bus maker Yutong Group Co., Ltd. has signed an agreement with the Qatari side to provide 1,002 vehicles, including 741 pure electric buses, for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
The rising demand in the Middle East market has not only galvanized bus makers but also driven other auto manufacturers. The Shangrao plant of Aiways, an electric-vehicle startup, has sent 688 new energy vehicles in four batches to overseas markets including the Middle East this year.
Incomplete statistics showed that more than 20 Chinese auto companies have entered the Middle East market with various products.
Auto industry experts said Chinese bus brands have made full use of their advantages to coordinate market resources and ensure timely delivery in the background of the pandemic. At the same time, the Chinese government is actively working with enterprises to provide support in resuming production, purchasing auto parts and arranging shipments.
"Being recognized by the market is just the beginning. We aim to provide higher-quality products and better services to Middle East customers to expand our presence there," Li said.