Excavator index shows China’s V-shaped recovery
Published: Nov 27, 2020 07:07 PM


Three minutes; 11.7 billion yuan ($1.78 billion). It doesn't seem fair, but that's Chinese speed. And it's what happened in an excavator show in China. 

The excavator index, a measure of economic health, has been proof of the Chinese economy's V-shaped recovery during the global epidemic. 

"Our company expects its construction business in China to continue to be strong due to government spending on infrastructure and building activity," Caterpillar vice president Chen Qihua said at a media briefing in Shanghai, which is hosting Bauma China, a community for the Asian construction machinery industry, or the gateway for international enterprises to the Chinese market.

XCMG displays large-scale mine graders at the ongoing Bauma China, the international trade fair for construction machinery, held in Shanghai November 24-27.

The organizer of the event said more than 3,000 companies from 93 countries around the world participated in the exhibition, regardless of travel restrictions, and the number of exhibitors was the same as in 2018. Companies included Sany, Zoomlion, XCMG, Caterpillar and Volvo.

The US-based construction machinery giant brought innovative machinery and equipment, engines and tools at show, including its new hydraulic excavator models custom-made for Chinese customers. The booth displays 17 machines, including next-generation hydraulic excavators, mini hydraulic excavators, wheel loaders, compactors, and motor graders.

At 8 o'clock on Tuesday, Sany kicked off a global online promotion, which generated over 23 billion yuan in two hours, a record for the industry's online promotion. More than 17,919 excavators were sold in three minutes. 

The indoor exhibition of Caterpillar, an American heavy equipment manufacturer, at the ongoing Bauma China, the international trade fair for construction machinery, held in Shanghai on Friday.

Excavators, which are widely used in infrastructure construction such as water conservancy, electricity and roads, are regarded as an economic barometer of the construction machinery industry, and even the Chinese economy.

China's construction machinery industry experienced heavy losses at the beginning of the year from COVID-19, but it has recovered since March, and continues its surprisingly high growth rate.

Data from the China Construction Machinery Association showed that in the first 10 months of the year, 263,800 excavators were sold in China, a year-on-year increase of 34.5 percent, exceeding by 12 percent last year's annual sales. 

The recovery pace of the construction industry is also in line with China's efforts in virus control and economic recovery, as China's GDP grew 4.9 percent in the third quarter, the first positive cumulative GDP growth since the outbreak of the virus.

The booming sales were mostly driven by the government's efforts on infrastructure investment, and as the government continues to steer the country toward economic recovery, demand for excavators in China may continue," Dong Dengxin, director of the Finance and Securities Institute at Wuhan University of Science and Technology, told the Global Times on Friday.

From January to October 2020, investment in highway and waterway transportation was 2.15 trillion yuan, a year-on-year growth of 11.8 percent, Ministry of Transport data shows.

 "As China designs its development blueprint for the next five years and beyond, and drives its 'dual circulation' growth pattern, Caterpillar looks forward to new opportunities in China's sustainable development journey," Chen from Caterpillar said. 

In the face of increasing competition in the global and Chinese markets, the brand influence and industrial status of Chinese construction machinery manufacturers continues to improve.

In a list of top 50 global construction machinery manufacturers released in June, the total sales of 11 Chinese companies reached $36.23 billion, or 18 percent of the top 50, a year-on-year increase of 3.22 percentage points. China only trails the US and Japan in terms of sales.