Wa­sion seeks smart up­grad­ing of plants

Maker of elec­tronic sys­tem de­vices pushed by la­bor costs and pulled by overseas de­mand

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By ZHONGNANand LIU WEIFENG in Chang­sha Con­tact the writ­ers at zhong­nan@ chi­nadaily.com.cn and li­uweifeng@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Wa­sion Group Ltd, the Hu­nan-based man­u­fac­turer of elec­tronic power me­ters and data col­lec­tion de­vices, plans to in­vest 15.91 mil­lion yuan ($2.32 mil­lion) over the next three years to up­grade its production fa­cil­i­ties with more in­dus­trial ro­bots, said se­nior ex­ec­u­tives.

Its prod­ucts are widely used in sec­tors such as the en­ergy-sup­ply in­dus­try, con­struc­tion, petroleum and petro­chem­i­cals, trans­porta­tion, me­chan­i­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing and res­i­den­tial use.

Zheng Xiaop­ing, vice-pres­i­dent in charge of operations at Wa­sion, said the project will be com­pleted by 2019. Each of its smart me­ter as­sem­bly work­shops will be able to cut staff from 71 to 14.

The in­vest­ment will be used for in­dus­trial ro­bots, equip­ment, soft­ware, com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­fra­struc­ture and tech­nol­ogy.

“Ro­bots have op­er­at­ing ad­van­tages in lim­ited spaces, es­pe­cially in small-work­piece pro­cess­ing, ma­te­rial move­ments and as­sem­bly,” said Zheng.

“Th­ese high-end de­vices have be­come the pre­ferred method for in­dus­trial up­grad­ing of prod­ucts of all sizes in China,” he said.

Wa­sion has ex­ported elec­tronic pow­er­me­ters and data col­lec­tion de­vices, in­clud­ing re­mote large-di­am­e­ter wa­ter me­ters, me­ters that ac­cept pre­paid cards, smart en­ergy Zeng Xin, man­age­ment ter­mi­nal units and smart dis­tri­bu­tion au­to­ma­tion equip­ment, to more than 20 overseas mar­kets in­clud­ing the United King­dom, France, the Nether­lands, South Korea and In­done­sia.

Sup­ported by 3,400 em­ploy­ees, in­clud­ing 600 re­searchers, Wa­sion’s rev­enue amounted to 2.96 bil­lion yuan in 2015, up 6 per­cent on a year-on-year ba­sis, while its profit reached 424 mil­lion yuan. It posted 206 mil­lion yuan profit in the first half of this year.

Ea­ger to en­hance its earn­ing abil­ity in overseas mar­kets, it has es­tab­lished sales branches and ser­vices sta­tions in more than 40 coun­tries and re­gions in­clud­ing Mex­ico, Ja­pan, South Africa, Ger­many and Rus­sia.

Wa­sion used to fo­cus on ex­port­ing its prod­ucts to de­vel­oped mar­kets be­cause they had high de­mand to con­trol their rev­enue from both the power and the en­ergy sec­tors and de­mand to in­stall more elec­tronic power me­ters in res­i­den­tial com­mu­ni­ties. The Chi­nese com­pany has be­gun to de­ploy more re­sources in do­mes­tic mar­kets in re­cent years.

“China’s na­tional development strat­egy now em­pha­sizes qual­ity growth as well as ‘green’, low-car­bon and sus­tain­able development. Wa­sion is keen to par­tic­i­pate in the coun­try’s power or en­ergy-re­lated projects, from in­fra­struc­ture fa­cil­i­ties to new en­ergy ve­hi­cle projects,” said Zeng Xin, an­other vice-pres­i­dent of the group.

All the com­pany’s work­shops will be equipped with in­dus­trial ro­bots by 2019. It cur­rently has eight sub­sidiaries car­ry­ing out dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ing and in­vest­ment busi­nesses.

Zhao Ying, a re­searcher at the Bei­jing-based Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences’ In­sti­tute of In­dus­trial Eco­nomics, said the coun­try’s surg­ing wealth and fast pace of ur­ban­iza­tion have caused la­bor-in­ten­sive in­dus­tries to strug­gle as they face amyr­iad of dif­fi­cul­ties, such as re­cruit­ment prob­lems and high em­ployee turnover rates.

The av­er­age la­bor cost in China has risen fast in the past five years, to more than 67,000 yuan a year in 2015 from less than 28,000 yuan a year in 2008, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the Bei­jing-based In­sti­tute of In­dus­trial Eco­nomics in July.

Wa­sion is keen to par­tic­i­pate in the coun­try’s power or en­ergy-re­lated projects ...” Wa­sion vice-pres­i­dent

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