JIAXING, China (June 8, 2006) — Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. is boosting its presence in China, opening a research and development center, expanding capacity at its two existing plants and extending its sales network.
Hankook, which claims a 25-percent share of the Chinese replacement passenger tire market, recently opened the R&D center to help it develop products optimized for the Chinese market and provide original equipment (OE) support to global car makers operating in China.
The tire maker built the center on a 463,000-sq.-ft plot of land near its Jiaxing plant. It did not quantify its investment in the center, which employs 90 technicians.
In addition, Hankook said it intends to expand the Jiaxing plant by an undisclosed amount during the second half; the firm only recently brought on stream an expansion there that brought annual capacity to 2.5 million units.
The newly disclosed expansion project will boost the firm's annual production capacity in China to 28 million units at plants in Jiaxing and Jiangsu.
Much of the output from the Jiaxing expansion is earmarked for OE customers. Hankook said it is the No. 1 OE supplier in China.
Hankook's Chinese operations recorded $560 million in sales, according to the company, and $78 million in operating profits last year.