Earlier this month, Japan-based petroleum company Idemitsu Kosan announced that its lubricants subsidiary in China, Idemitsu Lube China, will open a new sales office in Chongqing – a massive city in southwest China with a population nearing 30 million people.
The new office in Chongqing will open up another important part of the Chinese lube market to Idemitsu which also has sales posts in Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Changchun. The move to Chongqing also provides Idemitsu with more regional coverage in Chinas expanding interior, which had been lacking, with its established offices on the coast and in the north of the country.
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According to an Idemitsu official, the office in Chongqing will market both automotive and industrial lubricants. The former is especially crucial as China remains the top country in the world in terms of automobile sales last year. According to a release from the company, Chongqing is an important base for Changan Automobile Ltd., one of the four largest Chinese automakers, as well as other automakers. Ford, Suzuki and Mazda – having established joint ventures with Changan Group – have expanded into Chongqing, making it a major base for the automobile industry in China.
Idemitsu Lube China is focused on capitalizing on the expected steady increase in demand for lubricants over the next five years and has targeted annual sales of 3.3 million liters of lubricants from its new office by the end of 2013. Idemitsus continued expansion into China follows through on commitments made during its most recent annual report, which noted an enhanced focus on increasing its footprint in Asia.
Idemitsu has lubricants plants in China, Taiwan, Thailand and Malaysia, and plans to open a new 35 million liters per year lube blending facility in Vietnam in 2014.