Zuo Kun, China Pingle Group: “Pingle has reached a leading role in this industry in both domestic and overseas markets. Pingle’s all business operations merely center around the quality guideline that satisfies customer demands with market orientation, top quality, and best services. In the tendency of consumer market segmentation and high-quality orientation, product quality and brands will become the key to win the market and Pingle pursues innovation-driven development and keeps updating and upgrading of production and processing equipment. To build an international first-class brand and create a century’s Pingle, we have been on the road.”
China Pingle Group has been operating in the milling machinery industry for 30 years. Their main products include the roller mills, square plansifters, purifiers, multi-storey flour milling plants, and turn-key flour milling plant. As a result of innovative development in the past 30 years, Pingle has become the grain processing enterprise with a comprehensive capacity of design, production, and installation. Exporting to more than 50 countries across the world, Pingle has a production capacity of over USD 100 million in yearly output value.
Zuo Kun, General Manager of China Pingle Group gave an exclusive interview to Miller Magazine on the trend in the world milling industry, the state of the Chinese milling sector and Pingle’s future objectives.
First of all, could you please provide us with some brief background information on your company and its activities?
Hebei Pingle Flour Machinery Group Co., Ltd. started as a plant in 1991 and is a group company that focuses on grain machinery engineering equipment manufacture with diversified business operations. Its main business is production and operation of turn-key projects of 9-1000T flour machinery complete-equipment of various models, and contracting to undertake turn-key projects of 100-1000T steel structure complete-equipment; moreover, it has further developed special productive equipment of coarse cereals such as maize and brewing and can provide scientific and perfect solutions to fine processing equipment and process technology of coarse cereals.
What kind of role and place does Pingle has in China and also in the world in its operating industry? Could you tell us how Pingle has come to its current position?
In the global cereal milling industry, Wuxi Buhler’s equipment, Turkey’s equipment, and Pingle’s equipment all have some market share. Wuxi Buhler has brand accumulation of years, extensive business scope and good product quality with expensive prices. Turkey, near Europe, has the advantage of customer recognition relying on location advantage, but the product quality is irregular.
As a result of innovative development in the past 30 years, Pingle has presently become the grain processing enterprise with the strongest comprehensive capacity of design, production, installation and the like in the Chinese milling industry. All of key core equipment in the milling industry can be designed and produced on an independent basis, and complete sets of engineering services can be provided to customers. Particularly in Africa, India, and CIS countries, Pingle’s equipment holds a competitive edge in the product quality, and Pingle excels in the business competition in Tajikistan, Syria, etc..
In the whole international market, Pingle’s equipment quality, the extent of automation and globalized services have received recognition and support from more customers, and these customers choose Pingle as a strategic partner.
Pingle has reached a leading role in this industry in both domestic and overseas markets. Pingle’s all business operations merely center around the quality guideline that satisfies customer demands with market orientation, top quality, and best services. This means that Pingle takes market demands as the orientation of technological innovation in each development, and keeps R&D of new products and improvement of product quality so as to satisfy customer demands.
Can you tell us about the state of the milling machinery industry in China?
Wheat is the main food in China. The wheat milling industry, as the basic and main traditional industry to satisfy human food demands, has had a tremendous change wholly over the last ten years. Firstly, the wheat milling industry has been turning towards large scale and group development. The direct data is that the Chinese wheat milling enterprises have developed from more than ten thousand ten years ago up to the present less than 7,000 over the last ten years. With the acceleration of large scale and group development, wheat milling enterprises will continue to decrease, and capacity of production will be quickly concentrated in strong enterprises, which will make the strong stronger and the weak weaker, thus the strong will win and the weak die out.
Secondly, the traditional wheat milling has started to produce safe and healthy products according to market demands and meanwhile lay more emphasis on product quality and innovation of product categories instead of following the original track of “fixing production according to purchase, and fixing sale according to production” in the past. Thirdly, the Chinese wheat processing equipment and technologies are more advanced, with the extent of automation being higher and higher. With acceleration of the Chinese reform and openness and introduction and innovation of overseas advanced technologies, the gap between China and developed countries in technologies of milling automation becomes smaller and smaller, and the Chinese technologies has held some market share in Southeast Asia, Africa, Central Asia, etc.. Lastly, competition in quality and brands has become normal. The Chinese residents lay more emphasis on safety and health in daily consumption, and tend towards higher-end products. In the tendency of consumer market segmentation and high-quality orientation, product quality and brands will become the key to win the market.
Can you give us some information about your facilities and production capacity?
Pingle pursues innovation-driven development and keeps updating and upgrading of production and processing equipment. Presently Pingle has advanced processing and testing equipment such as German-made CNC laser cutting machines, CNC bending machines, horizontal machining centers, vertical machining centers, welding robots, and coordinate measuring machines, follows the production philosophy of constantly striving for perfection, and manufactures high-quality products with advanced productive power and craftsmanship. Now Pingle has a production capacity of over USD 100 million in yearly output value.
How many people do you employ?
Pingle has more than 600 employees currently, of which over 50% are in R&D, management and marketing.
Could you tell us Pingle’s recently finished and ongoing important projects?
Yearly Pingle has lots of milling projects in installation. On the overseas market, recently we have completed more than 1000 sets of solar-energy milling equipment in cooperation with the Zambian government, complete sets of 500T wheat milling projects in Tajikistan, 200T wheat milling projects in India, several complete sets of 100T wheat milling projects in Ethiopia, grain storage and processing EPC projects in cooperation with Uganda Ministry Of Agriculture, etc.. What will be installed in the near future include complete sets of 200T and 600T wheat milling projects in Tajikistan, 150T maize milling projects in Lesotho, etc.; on the domestic market, the recently completed excellent projects include 500T wheat milling production lines of Manzhouli Yitai Agriculture, 500T wheat milling production lines of Henan Shangcai Jinliyuan Flour Milling, 300T maize milling production lines of Xingtai Jinshahe, and brewing projects of Moutai equipment.
What are the outstanding features Pingle presents to the customers?
As a result of development and accumulation in the past 30 years, Pingle has won trust and support from lots of customers across the globe. Firstly, we has complete systems of product R&D, technological design, architectural design, and electrical automation design, as well as design and processing capacity of complete sets of projects, and can provide customers with turn-key projects for complete sets of equipment. Relying on advanced specialized production equipment and excellent employee teams, we improve institutional procedures and implement intensive management in each link from material purchase up to product delivery.
Secondly, Pingle has complete marketing and service networks across the globe and establishes service stations across the globe which can provide customers with timely and considerate services.
Lastly, Pingle’s products adopt customized, professional and localized technological designs to better cater for customer demands according to dietary habits of people in different countries.
What can you say about the innovations and solutions that you have brought to the milling industry?
Technological innovation is the motive power of development. Only by conducting technological innovation and product innovation can the industry progress be promoted and enterprises operate on a sustainable basis. Pingle”s technical R&D center has a highly professional and well-experienced team, which conducts product R&D, testing and practical application of sci-tech achievements on the basis of industry development and customer demands to satisfy high-end demands of more customers. Presently Pingle”s technical R&D center has won the special honor “Industrial Technical Design Center of Hebei Province”, which is also a result of our years’ hard efforts.
What will your R&D department offer to customers in the coming period?
Pingle will keep the improvement of the performance of key milling equipment, and launch complete units of equipment in conformity with market demands.
In overseas markets, which regions are you most active in? Where do you export your products? How many countries are you currently exporting?
Presently Pingle’s most active markets are mainly concentrated in India and Tajikistan in Asia, as well as Egypt and Ethiopia in Africa, etc..Main export countries are India, Russia, Tajikistan, Egypt, Iran, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, Zambia, etc… Pingle’s products are currently exported to more than 50 countries across the globe.
Could you please tell us what kind of change you have experienced in the milling industry particularly in the last 4-5 years?
Firstly, customers have higher requirements for quality, automation and production of wheat processed products. Secondly, market competition is fierce, in which big milling enterprises develop and grow rapidly while small enterprises face the fate of being eliminated and annexed. Lastly, the market has more detailed classification of flour categories and product quality, and customers have more and more requirements for higher-end products.
As abovementioned, Pingle’s development guideline is market-oriented. The recent-year development tendency of the milling industry indicates that the milling industry has been developing towards big size, large scale and intelligence. In China, a daily average processing capacity of flour is approximately 250,000 ton wheat, and now the top three enterprises of Wudeli, Yihai Kerry and Cofco in the Chinese milling industry have respectively a daily processing capacity of 40,000 tons, 17,000 tons, and 12,000 tons, all of which currently holds approximately 30% of flour processing total in China. The top three enterprises all plan to increase production over the next five years. Therefore products of milling equipment enterprises also must develop towards big size, large scale and intelligence. Pingle’s technical core gradually goes towards the research on perfect matching between key equipment and processing technologies and automated production systems, thus satisfying demands of different countries, regions and customers.
With a population of 1.4 billion, China is the world’s second-largest economy. Can you tell us about the advantages and disadvantages of being in a country with such a large economy and population?
Over the past 40 years of the Chinese reform and openness, the Chinese milling industry has had a tremendous change, and there are higher requirements for equipment and technology , product performance and product quality. In the current population and market environment, grain machinery enterprises are faced with challenges and opportunities. The favorable is that China has a large population, flour is the everyday staple food, there is a huge market demand for flour, and thus grain processing equipment has a steady demand space.
Challenges and opportunities: The Chinese grain machinery products, compared with those of international tycoons in this field, has the gap of deficiency in manufacture refinement, low brand perception, low high-tech application at key parts, and so on, and the only thing we should do is to keep technical innovation and managerial innovation, constantly strive for perfection, keep improvement of product sci-tech contents, and promote national brand value.
Looking to the future, what do you believe the challenges and opportunities are for your company?
The global milling industry has huge market potential, and there are vigorous demands for large complete units of equipment and small units of milling equipment. On such a huge market, each enterprise is faced with competition across the globe, and meanwhile enjoys opportunities for development and growth equally. The biggest challenge for us is to need constant improvement of our technical innovation, and reduction of costs and increase of returns, so as to provide customers with equipment of best quality and prices across the globe, and thus give an impetus to the rapid development of the global milling industry. The opportunity is a huge market capacity, and thus we need to set up more professional marketing and service teams to seize the opportunity and realize rapid development.
What are your future targets in your operating market?
Firstly, we will persist in the orientation of technical innovation to provide the global milling industry with excellent products to satisfy the new demands of customers. Secondly, we will make more efforts in developing international markets to make Pingle Brand irreplaceable in more countries. Lastly, we will give good and attentive services to each customer to help customers gain profits. Since the establishment, Pingle has been following the business philosophy of doing business by relying on complete sincerity and honesty and creating Pingle as a century’s famous enterprise. To build an international first-class brand and create a century’s Pingle, we have been on the road.
Is there anything you want to add and share with our readers?
We would like to express our sincere gratitude for all partners across the globe for their attention and great kindness to Pingle. In the future, we will make more efforts in contributing to technological advances in the global milling industry, attentively manufacture the most excellent products to serve loyal customers who trust us.