Yutong bus in Venezuela [Photo: Yutong.com]
A leading Chinese bus manufacturer Yutong is being singled out for its ability to carve out a niche in Venezuela, as well as in some parts of the Middle East.
Zhengzhou-based Yutong first entered the Venezuelan market in 2012, with the company later setting up an assembly plant in 2015 as part of its expansion plans.
Yutong now controls around 95 percent of the market share for new buses in Venezuela.
One of Yutong's managers in Venezuela Xun Chunhui admitted they initally struggled to gain acceptance, and they had to prove themselves through the quality of their buses.
"We decided to develop a strategy which focuses on the demands of our clients, rather than just comparing advantages with our competitors directly. We wanted to prove our superiority through our ability to adapt, and this approach helped lead us into a breakthrough in the market," said Xun.
Yutong's bus assembly plant in western Venezuela is a 675-million US dollar venture.
It employs around 1,000 people, who are churning out around 3,500 buses a year.
Ma Weizhong, one of the managers at the assembly plant, said the buses they are producing in Venezuela are different from Yutong buses found on the road in China.
"These modules are mainly to fulfill the special requirements for Venezuelans, such as wider seats, thicker cushions, and extra room for the seats because the local people are bigger in stature," said Ma.
Yutong is also starting to make headway in other parts of the world.
The company claims it now controls around three-quarters of the new bus market in Kuwait, with a special focus on air-conditioning systems to help passengers and drivers cope with the stifling heat.
"Now this bus is better, the air-conditioning is very good, maybe it's 50 degrees in temperature, this air-conditioning is working good, all passengers are comfortable," said a driver at the City Bus company in Kuwait City.
Yutong started out as a bus repair company based in Zhengzhou in 1963, and moved into producing buses in 1985.
It has since become one of the largest producers of commercial buses in Asia.