Gore looks to grasp opportunities in China’s industrial upgrading

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/12/20 19:43:41

Jason Field, president and CEO of W. L. Gore & Associates Photo: Courtesy of Gore

High-end Gore technology protects portable electronics. Photo: Courtesy of Gore

Safeguarding firefighters from heat stress with GORE-TEX® moisture barrier. Photo: Courtesy of Gore

Partnering with clinicians, Gore has implanted more than 40 million medical devices. Photo: Courtesy of Gore

China, with its rapidly developing economy and vast market demands, is gradually becoming a land of promise for overseas companies, especially those with high-end technologies.

The US high-end material manufacturer Gore is a good example. Established in the State of Delaware, the US in January 1958, Gore entered the Chinese mainland market more than two decades ago and had since grown with a steady speed in the country.

According to information shared by Gore to the Global Times, the company currently has three business divisions in China: a fabrics business division which covers both technical fabrics (example like fabrics for fire-fighting uniforms) as well as more consumer-oriented fabrics, such as protective garments for outdoor enthusiasts and a medical business division specializing in therapeutic devices. Also, Gore has established a performance solutions division to provide products that can solve complex mechanical challenges for their customers across a range of industries including automotive, aerospace, pharmaceutical, electronics and so forth.

"We see different growth in different divisions in different regions, but overall the three business divisions are all very important in advancing our technology and furthering our progress of impacting the society along with our associates and our customers," Jason Field, president and CEO of Gore, told the Global Times in the company's Shanghai office. He further added that currently, growth is especially "positive" in the automobile and mobile electronics sectors in China.

Double-digit growth

In recent years, Gore has achieved a firm growth in the Chinese market, with China being one of the company's top three markets in the world.

According to Field, Gore has had "consistent double-digit growth" in revenues in China in the past several years, though he declined to disclose the specific numbers. Currently, Gore has offices in both Beijing and Shanghai, as well as two manufacturing plants in Shenzhen. "We have a small expansion underway this year in China," Field said.

According to Field, Gore has also plans to penetrate deeper into the Chinese markets by bringing products and services to the less populated and developed regions in the country.

"We are beginning to understand more of the western part of the country and the diversity (of China). Our Medical division, for example, is moving into some of the western cities in China, but it's still new for us. We don't yet have detailed plans to expand manufacturing in the western part of China, but we are learning about what the possibilities could be," he said.

According to Field, the Chinese market is particularly "fast-paced" compared with some other markets, which is pushing Gore to become more responsive and to move more quickly. "I think another thing about China, which is really good for Gore is that how digitally advanced China is, such as its rapid mobile payment development. So, I think this trend in China has helped influence our global enterprise in a very positive way and has pushed us to become a little more progressive in our adoption of digital capability," Field noted.

Following trends

China's rapidly evolving industrial trends have also lent many opportunities for Gore, which is also keeping a close eye on the country's future development.

For instance, China's rapidly developing new-energy automobile sector is producing a lot of business chances for Gore. "We have developed and manufactured a membrane that helps enable fuel cells technology which would be a very important part of China's new-energy vehicle program," Field disclosed.

According to data on chyxx.com in July, China's new-energy vehicle sales only accounted for about eight percent of the world's new-energy car sales in 2011, but that proportion surged to a stunning level of nearly 45 percent in 2017.

Field also noted that Gore is very excited about the fact that sport is gradually becoming a new culture in China with the 2022 Winter Olympics coming to China and with people's growing interest in outdoor sports, which has expanded market demands for outdoor garments. "In some other parts of the world, more than 50 percent of people are doing outdoor sports, while in China, the proportion is only about 10 percent, which shows that the market will further expand," he told the Global Times.

He also disclosed that Gore expects to grasp market opportunities in the development of the 5G industry in China. "We will continue to try to enable companies that are in the mobile electronics space through our electronics products," he stressed, but added that Gore also has a number of technologies that need to be co-developed with companies that also look for ways to participate in the 5G era.

"In the future, Gore will continue to focus heavily on the new-energy automobile sector, and certainly the mobile electronics sector will be a very exciting space for us," he said. The Chinese government in recent years has also taken many measures to facilitate overseas companies' investment in China, such as creating platforms like the China International Import Expo to facilitate cross-border trade and lower the threshold for overseas investment in China.

"I think anything the Chinese government can do to bring clarity and stability to our markets is going to be very meaningful for us, as having access to China both from the import and export standpoint is going to be critically important," he said. Field also noted that Gore is very excited about China's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), which encourages development in industries like green energy and electronics.


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