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Chinese construction machine makers turning to overseas markets

SHANGHAI -- China's big construction machinery makers are boosting exports amid weak domestic demand.

Zoomlion is known in China for its concrete-related machinery and cranes.

     Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science & Technology recently exported mobile concrete pumps to Japan, while XCMG Construction Machinery will supply equipment to a canal construction project in Nicaragua in return for an equity stake in the project's promoter.

     Although the Chinese government continues to spend on infrastructure projects, the growth in domestic demand for construction machinery is slowing, nudging producers to lean on their overseas marketing departments.

     Zoomlion, a leading provider of concrete-related machines, said it has delivered two high-end mobile concrete pumps to a construction machinery leasing company in the northeastern Japan prefecture of Yamagata. The machines are capable of pouring fresh concrete from a height of up to 33 meters. The concrete-pumping vehicles have been redesigned to meet conditions in Japan, the company said.

     Based in Hunan Province, Zoomlion began to step up marketing efforts in Japan in 2011. The pumps on wheels went to a leasing company that handles more than 100 construction machines. Zoomlion hopes the deal will help enhance its name recognition in Japan. Zoomlion is also increasing its marketing efforts in India, Cambodia and other countries.

    Jiangsu Province-based XCMG, known for its road construction machines, will acquire an equity stake of 1.5% to 3% in the company which will construct a canal to connect the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Digging the big ditch, to compete with the Panama Canal, will cost an estimated $40 billion.

     Among other Chinese construction machinery makers, Sany Heavy Industry said Wednesday that it booked 10.87 billion yuan ($1.73 billion) in overseas sales in 2013, up 24.4% from 2012 and 29.9% of the Beijing-based company's total sales. Sany is marketing its wares for use in infrastructure improvement projects in emerging Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

     After the Lehman shock of 2008, China's construction machinery market more than doubled thanks to 4 trillion yuan of government stimulus measures. But that binge has since given away to oversupply, to the torment of the industry. According to Dazhihui, a Chinese information service, March sales of hydraulic shovels in China dropped 7.8%, the first year-on-year decrease since March 2013, excluding Chinese New Year-caused hiccups.

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