China reversed situation of mold industry in 10 years, Japanese media lamented that Japan’s technolo

Time:2020-02-18 15:41:08 / Popularity: / Source:

Japan Economic News reported on 21st that Japan's mold industry has ushered in a critical moment. Mold survey conducted by media from February to March showed that more than 70% of enterprises answered China as a “threat”. China has surpassed Japan in export volume of molds, ranking first in the world. As a manufacturing industry-based mold industry, its decline may affect overall competitiveness of Japanese manufacturing. In intensification of global scale competition, what is current status of Japanese mold company?
From 2009 to 2010, "OGIHARA Shock" attacked Japanese mold industry. OGIHARA, a large-scale mold company known as one of "Big Three in Japan", was incorporated into foreign-owned auto parts manufacturer, Thai Summit Group and BYD. OGIHARA is the largest manufacturer of automotive stamping dies and has deep relationships with automotive manufacturers in Japan and abroad.
China's mold factory 
OGIHARA's former Pavilion plant, now owned by BYD's Tatelin Mold Company (March 12)
It takes 5 minutes by car from Gunma Prefecture Tatebayashi Station to reach a pastoral area, it is OGIHARA's former Pavilion factory. On March 12th, Japanese economic journalist went to forestry mold company owned by BYD, mechanical sound kept ringing. On bulletin board, there is a map of base of China's domestic BYD vehicle and mold. In factory where all processes are gathered, operators are constantly busy.

China's mold export volume has increased to nearly 2 times that of Japan

Realizing self-production of high-quality molds - BYD's intentions are clear. Person in charge recalled that at that time, BYD needed technical strength in order to get rid of image of cottage enterprise. Within one year after acquisition, Tatebay Factory stopped supplying to companies other than BYD. Factory is also very deserted.
At that time, technological gap between China and Japan was clear at a glance. “Body is pitted and people are skeptical about whether car can be sold.” When OGIHARA’s relevant personnel visited China’s BYD, they said that BYD still did not reach universal quality. If mold processing of body is not in the range of 1 micron (micron is 1 millionth of a million meters), it will directly lead to poor appearance. Chinese companies are racing to pursue Japanese technology.
BYD is moving fast. In the first year of 2010-2011, dozens of mold trainees were sent to Pavilion Factory. Trainees learned basics of mold and field work. Japanese technicians also traveled to China's mold factory and stayed in absorption technology for a long time.
According to data from International Specialized Tooling and Processing Association (ISTMA), export value of China's molds in 2016 was US$4.5 billion. Beyond Japan around 2012, it is now the world's largest exporter of molds. Scale has reached nearly 2 times that of Japan, and global share has reached 26%. In the past 10 years, situation in China and Japan has completely reversed, Japan’s technological advantage has begun to weaken rapidly.
Nihon Keizai Shimbun carried out 17th "Questionnaire on Mold Industry" for member companies of 415 Japan Mold Industry Association from February to March. Survey was answered by mail and received 151 companies equivalent to 36.4%.
34.3% of responding companies believe that Chinese companies are “threat”. If you add option "Future is threatening", ratio is as high as 72%. For Japanese mold company whose domestic demand is shrinking and profit environment is also severe, China's mold factory that are rapidly expanding their exports will outstrip their competitors.
China's molds 
BYD has the largest share of more than 20% in pure electric vehicle market in China and exports to Europe. At present, with two factories in China, BYD has three mold production bases. Since about two years ago, large-scale molds of body side wall manufactured in Japan have been produced in China. BYD digested OGIHARA's mold technology and achieved rapid growth.
BYD has also recruited a large number of overseas talents from Germany and Japan. With acquisition of OGIHARA as an opportunity, it opened its doors to overseas. In 2011, BYD and Daimler of Germany set up a joint venture to learn technology. It is no longer possible to ridicule BYD as a “cottage enterprise”.

Sino-Japanese power reversal

According to Mold Questionnaire, 64.1% of companies cited “mold technology is improving”, which is second only to “low price” (69.9%). Company that believes quality of Chinese manufacturing is “at the same level as Japan” is only 9.3%, but on the other hand, 57.2% of companies believe that “same level will be achieved in the future”.
Nakagawa Weixiong, Emeritus Professor of University of Tokyo and special adviser to Hon Hai Precision Industry, said that "gap between quality and technical strength is already small." Nakagawa became a special consultant of Hon Hai after retiring from University of Tokyo about 20 years ago, and has been closely watching Hon Hai's mold technology. At that time, Nakagawa Weixiong saw "all the most advanced equipment" in mold factory of Hon Hai, and it was difficult to hide surprise.
Hon Hai sees mold as key to manufacturing process and has been investing heavily. According to Nakagawa Weixiong, "factory is huge, and mold workers once reached about 30,000." With advancement of cutting technology, use of molds is decreasing, but Hon Hai still has 20,000 mold workers. Hon Hai uses its overwhelming financial strength as a weapon to continuously improve its quality.
In addition, when BYD acquired OGIHARA, wages and retired funds were paid according to Japanese standards, giving employees maximum care. For acquisition drama that reflects China's financial strength, it evaluation in industry is still mixed. There are still many opinions about "Japanese technology outflows."

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