Kenda has earmarked $100 million and $50 million, respectively, to support these projects in their initial phases.
This ramp-up in capacity is why the company has a tech center in the Akron area, Mr. Yang said.
“The tech center in North America is paving the way for the growth in both OE and replacement of Kenda tires in North America.”
Gaining OE contracts with vehicle makers is a key part of the company's growth strategy.
“We want to start a dialogue with OE, and we need the technical ability,” Mr. Yang said. “Now we are only in spare tires,” he said, notably providing temporary spares for some Honda and Mitsubishi models in the U.S.
Kenda also has had some success with OE vehicle makers in China, including supplying ground, that is, non-spare tires to Shanghai General Motors Co. Ltd. In addition, the company is working on several opportunities with some Chinese auto makers, Mr. Yang said.
The company also has been successful in gaining OEM supply contracts to bicycle, motorcycle, ATV, golf cart and lawn mower manufacturers.
To strengthen and grow its OE business and to design tires for North American vehicles, Kenda set up a technical center in early 2014 near Akron and hired Tom Williams, who had been chief engineer at Hankook Tire America Corp. for 21 years, to head up the project as vice president of engineering. Kenda initially started operating out of temporary quarters at Martin Wheel Co., an affiliated company, in Tallmadge, Ohio.