Inchcape in Konica joint venture

INCHCAPE Repromac, part of the marketing arm of Inchcape Pacific, is to open a joint venture operation in Nanjing next month to assemble and market Konica copiers and facsimile machines in China.

To be called Nanjing Inchcape Repromac Office Products, the joint venture company will provide after-sales service and maintenance for Konica office products.

The joint venture partners will include Nanjing Cine Equipment Manufactory and the Nanjing Instrument and Meter Industrial (Bureau) Corporation.

Inchcape Repromac recently established a service centre and showroom in Beijing.

The move into Nanjing is expected to herald a major shift into the former Chinese capital by Inchcape Pacific, with umbrella companies covering all aspects of the company's business operations - motor vehicles, marketing and services - to take advantage of China's booming Yangtze River Basin.

The company will cover everything from cars, food, beverages, clothes and accessories, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment to construction materials, engineering equipment and transportation.

Few details are available about the move but it is expected it will complement the company's other business activities on the mainland.

Plans are already underway to establish a contract manufacturing plant in Guangzhou next year and a number of retail joint venture in Shanghai.

Inchcape Building Products recently opened a 5,000 square foot showroom in Shantou, in southern China, to cater for the booming infrastructure development of the city and surrounding area.

''The further expansion of our business in China is a priority for the Inchcape Group,'' said Inchcape Pacific chairman Paul Cheng recently.

''Inchcape Pacific has already established a strong foothold in the China market with our joint ventures in several different businesses, our representative offices and our wholly owned trading company in the Pudong district of Shanghai, but the opportunities for further business development are substantial.

''However, if we wish to benefit from the opportunities that exist, we must act quickly. Additional resources, in terms of people and money, are being made available to support our business development efforts in China.'' Inchcape Pacific is focusing on eight cities - its Hong Kong base and eight cities in China - for the first phase of a new push into the mainland. The nine cities form three triangles of prosperity and influence, according to Inchcape, in the major urbancentres of: South China - the cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou linked with Hong Kong to develop the Pearl River Delta.

East China - the cities of Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou, spreading further into the Yangtze River Basin and central China.

North China - the cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Dalian, to develop the north and northeast.

''We are planting a number of seeds, which we aim to cultivate into successful businesses,'' Mr Cheng said.