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The KION Group opens a new forklift truck plant in Jinan, China

The Chinese economy is booming – and with it the demand for high-performance intralogistics solutions. According to the ‘World Industrial Truck Statistics’ (WITS), the Chinese economy made up roughly 40 percent of the world market for industrial trucks in 2020. The KION Group is responding to this dynamic market development with the inauguration of a new forklift truck plant in Jinan – while also laying the foundation for an additional plant for its Supply Chain Solutions segment.


The around 200 invited guests who attended the gala evening, held in line with the local COVID rules, had two very good reasons to celebrate: the KION group inaugurated the new plant for counterbalanced trucks in Jinan, in China's Shandong province, and also laid the foundation for the planned warehouse technology facility located close by. “The new plants continue the KION Group’s growth trajectory in China and expands its product portfolio in both operating segments in one of the world’s most important and most dynamic material handling markets”, says Gordon Riske, CEO of the KION Group, who joined the ceremony in Jinan via video conference.

KION Group's new plant for counterbalanced trucks in Jinan, Shandong province.

Jinan is the KION Group’s fifth-largest production site in China. In future, industrial trucks from KION’s Linde Material Handling and Baoli brands will be manufactured in an area covering around 2,400,000 square feet – equivalent to over 31 soccer pitches. This is expected to create more than 1,000 new jobs in Jinan in the medium-term. Even now, more than 4,600 of the world’s roughly 40,000 KION employees are located in China.

The next chapter of a long success story

The brands of the KION Group have had a presence in China for many years. Today, based on annual turnover, the intralogistics group is the leading foreign forklift truck and warehouse technology provider in China and the third-largest supplier in the country overall. The KION subsidiary Linde Material Handling launched its Chinese production arm in Xiamen, Fujian province, almost 30 years ago. In the spring of 2020, the KION Group opened a second plant for warehouse technology – mainly for the Linde MH brand – near its location in Xiamen. Baoli has been part of the KION Group since 2009 and manufactures industrial trucks at its site in Jingjiang, Jiangsu province. Dematic, the youngest member of the KION Group to date, is one of the world’s leading providers of intelligent supply chain, software, and automation solutions. The company has had production facilities in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, for the Chinese and Asian market since 2006. The two new plants will allow the KION Group to continue to expand its presence in China, setting the course for further growth in Asia.

The planned SCS factory in Jinan.

Targeted research and development for the Asian market

The electrification of industrial trucks is becoming increasingly important and is constantly taking up more space in the KION Group’s product portfolio. “We want to make better use of the potential of this important market and significantly expand our position as a leading intralogistics company in China”, emphasizes CP Quek, member of the board of KION GROUP AG and, among other things, responsible for the ITS business in the Asia Pacific and Americas regions. To achieve this goal, the KION Group has set up a modern production plant as well as a modern research and development center, a training center, and an administration area. The KION Group established a separate company to manage these activities, in which it holds a 95-percent share. The remaining five percent is held by the KION Group’s anchor investor, Weichai Power Co. Ltd., which also has its headquarters in Shandong province and manufactures engines, commercial vehicles as well as vehicle electronics. This investment also supports a strong local establishment in the region.

The groundbreaking in Jinan.

Perfectly tailored automation solutions for the Asian market

Besides the demand for more electric forklift trucks, e-commerce is also continuing its rapid growth in the APAC region – and with it the demand for automated solutions. According to a forecast by eMarketer, China will record e-commerce sales of around 2.4 trillion euros this year. This accounts for almost 57 percent of the total global volume. We wanted to take advantage of this development, explains Hasan Dandashly, member of the board of KION GROUP AG and responsible for the Supply Chain Solutions segment. The planned plant, which is expected to commence operation in the first quarter of 2023, will manufacture racks for the Multishuttle system produced by KION subsidiary Dematic, components for driverless transport systems, as well as conveyor belts and systems, among other products. The second Dematic site in China gives the Asian market faster and even more comprehensive access to the broad automation portfolio.