The Chinese rental market

Zhongneng United CEO interview

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Yang Tianli is the founder and CEO of Zhongneng United. Before the establishment of the company in 2016, Mr. Yang was committed to the business model innovation of excavator market and has set up China’s largest offline community of second-hand equipment. Specialized in Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWP) rental market, Zhongneng United is now one of the largest partners of Haulotte China.

Yang Tianli

What was the key drivers of your expansion?

I believe strategy, talent, and technology are the three core drivers of Zhongneng United’s expansion. Since the very beginning of the establishment of the company, we have developed clear strategic objectives and accurate judgment on future directions, including the evolvement of the whole business model, changes in industry competition, and so on. Therefore, we know what actions to take at different times and are fully prepared to cope with current opportunities and challenges. With a clear vision for the future, we also know what types of talent are needed for the implementation of strategic objectives at each stage. Finally, in my opinion, how to use the power of science, technology, and data to drive traditional industrial connectivity is also a core element for our continuous development.

How long has Haulotte been a partner of yours?

I have been keeping close communication with Mr. Wang, General Manager of Haulotte China before our formal cooperation, which enables me to have a comprehensive understanding of Haulotte. We began to discuss the cooperation framework in 2018 and officially started our partnership in 2019.

What are your expectations in terms of partnership and relations with Haulotte? How do you see this partnership going?

In the face of fierce competition within the industry, we hope that Haulotte can maintain optimism about Chinese market, increase its local involvement and investment, and continue to develop products and operational strategies in line with the needs of Chinese users.

As for the partnership with Haulotte, I think mutual trust is the foundation. The second basis is the definition of boundary, which refers to what kind of relationship should be maintained between the manufacturer and the rental company. In my opinion, the manufacturer is responsible for developing good products and marketing strategies while the rental company should be devoted to its own operation management, industry solutions, and customer service. Finally, mutual promotion, communication, and understanding are also the core elements of our partnership.

the rental market

Could you share any insights about the way the markets covered by your company has developed over the last years?

Based on current market conditions, China’s MEWP rental market is still an emerging market and is in the initial stage of competition, dominated by price war. From the aspects of the supply stock and future increment of Chinese market, this industry has a good development prospect. Apart from the above, I believe another standpoint to view the current and future market development is to find a proper positioning for your own company and lay out the market strategy based on your strengths and current operation.

We have learnt that Zhongneng United has participated in constructions of COVID-19 hospitals, could you please share what kind of equipment and technical support did the company provide?

the rental market

During the epidemic prevention and control period, Zhongneng United has provided professional aerial work equipment with a total value of more than 8 million RMB. The equipment provided include scissor lifts and boom lifts, which were mainly used in construction of steel structures and facades of hospitals (such as the Leishengshan hospital in Wuhan, Xiaotangshan hospital in Beijing, and Xiaotangshan hospital in Zhengzhou). Construction machinery played an important role in boosting the construction in the “fight” against the epidemic, which improved efficiency, saved labor costs, and ultimately enabled construction to be successfully completed within a very short period.

Zhongneng United has donated a batch of supplies to Huizhou City, which was affected by the flood in June. For corporate social responsibility, I think the first thing to consider is: what you can achieve depends on what problem you can solve. In my opinion, any leading enterprise in the future cannot be flawed in terms of social values. You should always put your clients first and then shoulder the responsibilities for your employees, shareholders, and the whole community you live in. Nevertheless, all these responsibilities are based on your business model, strategic planning, and your own capabilities.

Finally, considering what kind of value and how much value can you create is also very important, which is proportional to the scale and capacity of the enterprise in my opinion. Therefore, within our reach, we should fulfill our duties and responsibilities for our customers, employees, shareholders, and the whole community. With constant development of the company in the future, Zhongneng United will continue to increase investment in the field of corporate social responsibility.

What do you foresee as the future of the MEWP rental market over the next 5 years in China?

From the dimensions of demand, supply, price, and value, I think the future is very promising although there may be some setbacks. We believe that competition will persist over the next five years but shift from the current price war to a deep-level service competition. In addition, from the perspective of customer demand and distribution, the industry hierarchical ecosystem will be gradually formed and improved.

What are the key drivers to increase the MEWP coverage, according to you? Additional services, more innovation in MEWP products, new applications in the MEWP industry?

We always believe that price, safety, and efficiency are the most important dimensions, which represent the first level of market penetration. From the perspective of deep-level competition and long-term development, more valuable services and product innovation are essential.

Taking the whole MEWP rental market into account, Zhongneng United and Haulotte are both responsible for bringing the industry to a higher dimension and deeper level. Zhongneng United should provide customers with better solutions and deepen our service offerings, while Haulotte should continue to develop customer-oriented product solutions. At the same time, we will continue to expand the application scenarios to provide customers with safer, more efficient, and more cost-effective services and products. I think industry development in such a way will be rational, sustainable, and healthy.

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