October 31 2005.
China's largest motorcycle manufacturer, Guangdong-based Dachangjiang, or Grand River Group is set to grow even bigger. And when the company completes the new factory it plans to build, it will be able to make far more motorcycles in a year than are made in all of Japan.
Grand River's domestic motorcycle sales are supported by China's huge rural population, and exports have been buoyed by firm demand in Central and South America, Africa and Southeast Asia.
Given the good road conditions of its business, the company sees every reason to step it up a gear. The plan is to build a new factory that will increase its total production capacity by a whopping 70% to the level of 3 million units a year.
Although the scale of the investment is indefinite, the new factory will be located in Jiangmen, where the company is headquartered, and it will be used to make scooters and 100cc and 125cc motorcycles.
Grand River Group was established in 1991 and in 1992 it formed a partnership with Suzuki Motor Corp. that gave it access to Japanese technologies.
The company sells both Suzuki and Haojue brand motorcycles. In 2003 its production breached the level of 1 million units and it became the biggest motorcycle maker in China. Last year the company made 1.5 million units and this year it expects to max out its total production capacity and make 1.8 million units.
More motorcycles are made in China now than in any other part of the world. Last year production topped 16 million motorcycles. Since some 4 million units were exported, the domestic market supported 12 million units, making China's motorcycle market the largest in the world as well.
Counting all the tiny firms that produce imitation foreign-brand motorcycles, there are said to be more than 400 motorcycle makers in China. However, the top 20 makers lay claim to more than 70% of the total market.
Grand River Group stands in a strong position to grow thanks in part to the production technologies and quality-management practices it has introduced from partner Suzuki.
"Our motorcycles cost 10-20% more than bikes from other Chinese makers, but there is solid demand for quality motorcycles, and that is the foundation of our good sales," explained Vice General Manager Shi Yan.

Source: Nikkie Net. Toru Sugawara. Staff writer