JIANGMEN, Guangdong Province: China's motorcycle manufacturers should be better prepared for technological barriers and put more effort into their brand-name strategies to consolidate their foothold in the global market, experts told a forum on China's motorcycle industry on Wednesday.
"Technological barriers, rather than anti-dumping tricks, will become the ace for foreign countries to frustrate motorcycle imports from China. And domestic motorcycle manufacturers should keep a closer watch on the development of global technological standards while making their products technology-intensive," said Gao Zhiqian, director and senior engineer of the Ministry of Science and Technology's scientific and technological promotion and development research centre.
The forum was held alongside the China Motorcycle Expo and China (Jiangmen) Economy and Trade Fair, which was held from May 17-19 in the Pearl River Delta city of Jiangmen.
Over 130 domestic and Japanese motorcycle and related component manufacturers attended, showcasing their latest developments.
"Not only developed countries, including the United States and the European Union countries, but also developing countries like many of the Southeast Asian countries, where the key overseas market for China's motorcycles resides have applied technological barriers to imports of motorcycles and related components on one occasion or another," he said.
"Developed countries have a much greater say in technological standards," he said. "Domestic motorcycle manufacturers should have a better understanding of the urgency and importance to apply for patents, on which technological standards are based."
Official statistics say that China approved about 10,000 patents related to motorcycles in 2005, no more than 5 per cent of which were related to technological inventions.
Among the 400-odd invention patents, only 16 per cent belonged to domestic motorcycle enterprises, while 24 per cent belonged to individuals, with the remaining 60 per cent belonging to overseas enterprises and individuals.
Experts suggested that domestic motorcycle manufacturers should also redouble efforts to build brands, saying domestic motorcycle manufacturers still have a very long way to go for a greater popularity of their brands at home and abroad.
Citing a survey conducted late last year, Luo Shaohua, chief engineer of Guangdong Quality and Technology Supervision Administration, said even in China, the Japanese brands of Honda and Yamaha are better known than domestic brands "Taiyang," "Jialing" and "Haojue." "A brand name means much higher profit than a competitive product of similar quality," Luo said.
He said that Japanese-brand motorcycles sell twice as well as Chinese brands in many Southeast Asian countries.
Luo suggested that domestic motorcycle enterprises should also improve their after-sales service in the overseas markets.
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