Manitowoc to increase Potain sales in China

22 July 2021

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Manitowoc is experiencing high demand for Potain tower cranes in China and is on track to sell significantly more units this year than in 2020.

According to analysis from, the company’s construction industry grew by 1.9% in 2020, but will record average annual growth of 4.7% between 2021 and 2024. The company is enjoying a strong order book, especially for topless models such as the MCT 138, MCT 188, MCT 278 and MCT 328.

 The surge in demand is driven in part by the Chinese government’s focus on ongoing economic growth and urbanization. There is also a shift in design: the government is strongly promoting prefabricated buildings which can be assembled much more quickly than those built using cast-in-situ concrete. The shift requires large and heavy structural components to be lifted, and this has driven demand for higher capacity cranes, especially those rated at 200 tm and above.

Currently, prefabricated buildings make up 15% of all new construction projects, and that percentage is on the rise, according to China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development. As a result Potain’s MCT 138, MCT 188, MCT 278 and MCT 328 topless cranes are the company’s most popular units in China at present. 

When the Manitowoc factory in Zhangjiagang, China, opened in 2006 it was already one of the most advanced tower crane manufacturing facilities in the world. Recent investments there and the launch of innovative new Potain models have strengthened the company’s market position.  The 56,000 m2 (602,779 ft2) production space has undergone a substantial renovation. Lean manufacturing and rapid new product development are themes; improvements have been made to layout, processes and equipment, including new robotic welding machines and a new production line for C Mast. The plant produces a full line of Potain cranes including topless, hammerhead, luffing jib and hydraulic luffing models.

Recent new models to come out of the Zhangjiagang factory include the MCT 278 topless crane which launched in 2020. The 10 t capacity crane has a compact counter-jib – just 17 m, regardless of jib length – and a topless design that provides greater slewing clearance to enable multiple units to overlap more easily, increasing both speed of construction and productivity on site.

“The market for tower cranes in China is extremely favourable at the moment. The shift to prefabricated construction is driving demand for high performance cranes with technology that can boost productivity on jobsites” said Brian Wang, Manitowoc’s senior vice-president for the Asia-Pacific region.

As an example, China Construction Seventh Engineering Division a subsidiary of the government-owned China State Construction Engineering Corporation, is using two Potain MCH 170 cranes in the city of Shenzhen, southeastern China. One on a fire station and the other on a residential jobsite. Both projects are part of the Chinese government’s effort to transform Shenzhen into a global business centre by 2025.

Ma Guihong, chief engineer of the Division, said: “We selected the cranes because we are fans of the MCH 170’s VVH hydraulic luffing system. The crane has a short out-of-service radius, which makes it easy to work in tight spaces such as downtown construction sites.”