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China National Heavy-Duty Truck Group Co, the nation's largest heavy-duty truck maker, reported robust profit growth in the first half of this year despite shrinking domestic and overseas demand.
First-half profit of the shandong-based company, also known as Sinotruk, increased 27.5 percent from the same period last year, according to its interim reports issued on August 27.
It has secured export orders for more than 14,000 heavy trucks, making it the largest exporter of the vehicles in the country for eight years in a row.
Sinotruk Hong Kong Co Ltd, its Hong Kong-listed subsidiary, alone sold 40,240 vehicles in the first half, bringing in 10.27 billion yuan ($1.68 billion) in revenue. Its net profit soared 370.51 percent year-on-year to 185 million yuan.
Ma Chunji, chairman of Sinotruk, attributed the growth to the company's great efforts to promote technological progress and independent innovation.
"Technological innovation is the key to the company's sustainable growth," said Ma.
Established in 1956, Sinotruk was the pioneering enterprise in China's heavy truck industry. The Huanghe JN150, the nation's first wholly self-manufactured heavy truck, rolled off the company's assembly line in 1960.
To achieve sustainable success, a total of 15 billion yuan has been invested in promoting technological transformation and independent research since the company was reformed and restructured in 2001, Ma said.
The approach helped the company's product lineup grow to nine series and more than 3,000 models at present from only one series and 78 models in 2001.
It tops the list of Chinese automakers in terms of the number of patents held, with a total of 2,218 patents licensed. It has independently developed such series as Howo, Steyr King, Sitrak and Huanghe Prince.
The Howo series in particular, with more than 100 patented technologies, has attracted attention from insiders in China and abroad.
To boost its presence in the global market, Sinotruk has developed strategic technical partnerships with major international brands, such as Steyr in Austria and Mann in Germany.
In 2009, Europe's leading heavy commercial vehicle maker MAN SE, the owner of the Mann brand, bought a 25 percent share in Sinotruk Hong Kong and signed an agreement to transfer some advanced technologies to the Chinese truck maker.
Through teaming up with MAN, Sinotruk has greatly improved its own research and development capability, which helped the company penetrate key global markets.
Their jointly developed products, the HOWO-T7H and Sitrak series of heavy-duty truck, could extend Sinotruk's sales network to developed countries thanks to their high performance, safety and driver comfort, Ma said.
Meanwhile, Sinotruk has also made great efforts to develop environmentally friendly heavy trucks aimed at high-end markets.
It invented engines that meet the Euro V emission standards in 2011 and got an order to export 2,000 Euro V heavy-duty trucks to Brazil.
The first 400 such trucks were delivered to Brazil in May last year. It was the first time for a China-made truck with such low emission levels to be exported abroad.
Another 300 Euro V heavy trucks were delivered to Hong Kong in June this year, making the company the first mainland truck maker to enter the special administrative region, which is known for its strict rules on emissions.
Currently, Sinotruk has six overseas sales centers and more than 600 service centers across the world. Its products have been exported to over 96 countries and regions.
With quality products and sound after-sales service, the company is expected to export a total of 30,000 heavy trucks this year, an increase of 15 percent year-on-year, according to Ma's projection.
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