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In 2015, European and American forklift markets continue to maintain steady growth. Chinese forklift market has re-entered the adjustment phase since 2012 as the economic slowdown pulls down the demand of traditional industries for forklifts; therefore, the annual sales volume in the country will return to the level in 2013, but it will maintain its position as the world's largest market.
With the development of Chinese forklift market, the forklift product mix also changes. All along, internal combustion forklifts occupy roughly 80% market share in China. However, in recent years, electric forklifts have been growing radically thanks to the demand for energy saving and environmental protection. In 2014, electric forklifts accounted for 30.6% of China's forklift sales volume, 3.5 percentage points higher than the previous year, marking the fastest growth in recent years. During 2015, internal combustion forklifts continue to decline, while electric forklifts, especially electric warehouse forklifts, grow significantly at the estimated above 10%.
At the same time, major manufacturers have been intensifying R & D of electric warehouse forklifts and new energy forklifts, like HeLi, develops LNG and LPG internal combustion forklifts; BYD researches lithium battery forklifts; and EP Equipment, Noblelift and Ruyi develop electric warehouse vehicles.
Regarding enterprises, domestic brands seize approximately 80% of market share, of which Anhui HeLi and Hangcha hold about 45%. In foreign brands, Kion Group enjoys the highest share, with 6.3% in 2014. In addition, Toyota, Mitsubishi Nichiyu Forklift and UniCarriers also act as major players.
In recent years, China's manufacturing industry has stepped into the transition phase. On the one hand, forklift companies speed up the upgrading of their product structure and gradually transfer to the medium-end economical forklift market; on the other hand, they enhance competitiveness through mergers and acquisitions and other means. For instance, UniCarriers obtained 70% stake in Anhui Hecha; TICO acquired Tailift's forklift business. In the next five to ten years, mergers and acquisitions in the forklift industry or across industries will continue to occur.
Source: Research and Markets
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