Maxrubber Eye Steady Export Growth Despite Difficult Market Conditions in South-East Asia

Maxrubber

Maxrubber can currently claim to be a trusted brand in over 25 countries around the globe.

Maxrubber to Develop its International Presence

Earlier last year, Malaysian tread rubber manufacturer Maxrubber celebrated its 30th anniversary at a high-profile reception held in Subang, Kuala Lumpur. The Klang based company takes great pains to emphasise its position as a medium-sized, family-owned business, and the anniversary event was more in keeping with a much more prominent entity than the company is wont to portray itself. The truth, however, is that during a period when the traditional, much larger leaders in the Malaysian tread rubber sector have struggled to maintain their position, Maxrubber has, on the back of steady and measured growth, gained a position as one of the market leaders locally, and is now looking to strengthen its business overseas.

On the basis of this, we paid a visit to the company’s head office to find out more about the company’s plans for future expansion. There we spoke to Managing Director John Lee and Marketing Manager Liew Choon Kong, who were keen to emphasise the company ethos, outlined in the strapline used at the 30th anniversary event – namely “Together in Synergy, Winning in Unity.” 

“We are a small company, which focuses only on tread rubber production,” emphasised John Lee. “We are growing steadily, but we are being careful with the growth,” he added. “We don’t want to run before we can walk.”

Maxrubber Industries Sn Bhd was originally founded in 1989 by John Lee’s father, the late Lee Chee Keong, as a manufacturer of rubber compounds and moulded automotive parts. The company first entered the business of manufacturing tyre retreading materials (both precure and mould cure) in 1993. Today, the company employs 80 people operating a total of five tread presses.

“Demand for high quality and value-for-money retread materials continues to grow around the world, and Maxrubber is at the forefront of the move to meet this demand, building new, dynamic markets for our products around the globe,” said John Lee.

Indeed, one of the key strategic aims of the company is to develop its international presence, and this was illustrated in March last year with the addition of a new 8 metre press at the Klang manufacturing plant.

“The new press is mainly intended to service the export market, and has helped increase our capacity, thereby positioning ourselves to meet growth in export demand,” explained Lee.

Maxrubber can currently claim to be a trusted brand in over 25 countries around the globe, and indeed, the company has managed to develop sales across an extraordinarily widespread range of countries from the USA to Ecuador, from the UK to Tanzania and from New Zealand to Japan. According to John Lee, though, the company’s priorities are now to develop a stronger presence in both Europe and Latin America, using the company’s premium brand, Maximus.

“We are looking for direct sales and we face strong competition from local suppliers, so it’s a challenge to penetrate the Latin American market,” said Lee, “but we have made some inroads in the region selling to Ecuador.”

Unfortunately, market conditions in South-East Asia are currently not helping. “Local tread production in Malaysia has fallen by 40-50%,” he continued. “The increased influx of Chinese tyres has impacted the pricing of retreads. The trade war between China and US is not benefiting us in this respect.”

The market conditions in South-East Asia have also had the effect of holding back the company’s plans to develop a franchise network in South East Asia. This concept was developed in 2016 and the company does have one franchisee in the pipeline within the South-East Asian region. Generally, though, the development of the concept has been held back due to the market difficulties in the region as a whole.

Overall, however, Maxrubber’s view of prospects for retreading sector are positive. “It is particularly gratifying to be celebrating this anniversary as the future for high quality rubber compound and tyre retreading business looks bright,” said John Lee at the company’s anniversary event earlier last year, and the company has certainly made a number of significant investments on the back of this positivity in recent years.

The company invested in an OTR extrusion line in 2003, expanding into the precure OTR sector ten years later in 2013. The company now sells OTR materials to several overseas markets including Thailand, Philippines, Japan and the USA.

The Sabah based retreader Vimax was also acquired in 2012 and, according to Lee, this subsidiary still continues to perform well, producing 2,000 retreads per month.

More recent developments have included the addition of Wing and Eclipse design in 2014 and the launch of a completely new segmented brand line-up in 2017 consisting of four different branded products, the premium Maximus range, a mid-range brand called Maxcool, the Maxcap economy brand for the local market, and a branded Wing tread called Maxfit.

 

尽管东南亚市场困难重重

马胶看好出口稳定增长

 

去年较早的时候,马来西亚胎面胶制造商马胶工业有限公司在吉隆坡梳邦以一个盛大的晚宴,隆重庆祝创立30周年。这家位于巴生的公司付出极大的努力来强调其作为一家中等规模的家族企业地位,而这个豪华的周年庆典也不是向来低调的马胶的一贯作风。事实上,当规模较大的传统马来西亚胎面胶领袖在为维持他们的地位挣扎着的那段期间,马胶则在稳步增长的基础上成为市场领导者之一,而如今的它希望加强海外业务。 

为此,我们特别到马胶的总公司了解其未来的扩充计划。我们访问了董事长李征林和行销经理刘俊光,他们强调了公司所秉持的精神,而该精神也体现在公司30创立周年纪念晚宴的主题 ---“同心协力,携手共赢”上。 

“我们是一间专门生产胎面胶的公司。”刘征林表示。“我们正在稳步成长,但是我们很谨慎于我们的增长。我们必须循序渐进。 ”他补充。 

刘征林的先父在1989年成立了马胶工业,生产胎面较和汽车成型部件。该公司于1993年进入轮胎翻新原料(预硫化和模具硫化)制造业。该公司拥有80名员工和五台胎面胶硫化炉。  

“全世界对高品质和物有所值的翻胎原料的需求不断增长,而马胶处于迎合该发展的最前沿,为我们的产品在全球各地建立新且充满活力的市场。”他说。 

马胶的主要策略之一便是建立国际知名度,而这点可从它在2019年3月间于巴生制造厂增添全新8米长胎面胶硫化炉显示出来。 

“该胎面胶硫化炉主要是为了进口市场。它也协助我们提高生产力,使我们能够找到定位,迎合市场需求的增长。”他解释。 

马胶宣称是全球超过25个国家值得信赖的品牌。的确,该公司出口至非常广泛的国家,从美国到厄瓜多尔、从英国到坦桑尼亚、从新西兰到日本。据刘征林表示,该公司目前的重点是透过该公司的优质品牌—Maximus,在欧洲和拉丁美洲建立起更强的知名度。 

“我们寻求直接销售,但我们在本地遇到强烈的竞争,要渗透拉丁美洲市场是个挑战。然而我们成功闯入该区域,出口至厄瓜多尔。” 

不幸的是,目前的东南亚市场不怎么乐观。“本地的胎面胶产量下跌了40-50%。大量涌入的中国轮胎影响了翻胎的售价。中美贸易战 也没为我们带来益处。” 

东南亚的市场状况,也使该公司推迟了在东南亚发展许可权网络的计划。它在2016年发展出这个概念,并在东南亚区拥有一个加盟商。有鉴于目前东南亚市场的状况,马胶目前已推迟了发展该概念的计划。 

然而,马胶对整体翻胎业的看法依然乐观。“庆祝周年庆是件特别令人满意的事,因为优质胎面胶和轮胎翻新业看来前景光明。” 李征林在今年较早前,也就是该公司庆祝周年庆时曾如此表示。该公司因此在近年来做了一些巨大投资。 

2003年,马胶投资于工程胎挤胶生产线,并在10 年后,也就是2013年扩展至预硫化工程胎领域 。该公司目前将工程胎原料销售到好几个海外市场,包括泰国、菲律宾、日本及美国。 

此外,该公司于2012年收购了沙巴的Vimax。据他说,该子公司发展良好,每月生产2,000条翻胎。 

马胶最近的成就包括在2014年添加了翼形(Wing)和Eclipse形胎面胶设计。2017年,该公司推出了全新的细分品牌,包含4种不同的品牌---优质Maximus系列、中等品牌Maxcool,为本地市场推出的经济品牌Maxcap,以及高档的翼形胎面胶Maxfit。

 

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