Business mogul, Aliko Dangote is presently the owner of the largest crawler crane in Africa. The astute businessman bought the crane from China’s number one construction company, XCMG Construction Machinery Co Ltd, a Company dealing in heavy machineries.
“Our biggest customer in Africa is Dangote,” the Assistant President and General Manager, Hanson Liu, told LEADERSHIP in an interview. “Dangote has bought the largest crawler crane from us, weighing about 1250 tons,” he said, adding that the massive crane was assembled in Nigeria. Liu equally added that XCMG sold about 5000 units of various kinds of products to customers in Africa last year 2016.
“We dispatch our stationeries through Tanzania and working with some big customers like Dangote. We presently have about 24 employees in service working with Dangote full time in Nigeria.”
While XCMG celebrates Dangote in China, the General Manager, quizzed on why the company’s products are popular in Africa, stressed on the trust people have in the company’s products. “We do think about our customers, care about our customers,” he said, adding that XCMG also trained dealers and customer staff among others.
“We have not only the manpower to dispatch from factory to working site, but also we train customer staff, we also train some people locally and also our dealers and service people.”
Working in some African countries has not entirely been without challenge for China’s giant construction company. Liu pointed out challenges and made note of determinant factors for future investment in African countries.
“In some countries, we cannot easily transfer money due to financial restriction there. Also its not easy to exchange currency. And some countries have security issues which makes us a bit nervous.”
“Theres always this possibility. We are seeking for a suitable place and favourable policies. You know we are always thinking about it because the next era will be Africa. So, we focus alot on Africa. Africa has huge potential regarding development,” he said.
Due to the high technology employed by the company, robots are a part of the manufacture process, raising questions as to whether or not this would increase unemployment in the world’s most populated country.
The Assistant President responded referring to the robots at work in the factory, “They are mostly for the reliability of the product. The manual operation is not always stable in quality compared with the robots. In the company we look at the quality and satisfaction of the customers, not focusing on how many people we employ,” he said.
The XCMG Construction Machinery Co Ltd, is a hundred percent government owned. It was first established in 1943 as a workshop during the war against Japanese aggression, and has a history of 72 years. The company ranks fifth in the world, with over 30,000 employees. The company has also sold products to about 177 nations, and has to its credit built the largest tractor currently in Asia.
Highly considering investments in Africa, XCMG has underway plans in the pipeline. “We discussed with several countries already, like Ghana, Egypt, Nigeria and Algeria. But nothing has been finalised yet,” Liu said.
The construction company considers skillful labour and favourable policies to include financial policies that would make transfer of funds easier as a determinant to investment. Its shares are presently rising in Africa.