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(Copyright courtesy PromesaArtStudio/Shutterstock.com)

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While it is not easy to provide reliable estimates of pump market size in China since official statistics are known to be unreliable. But with any set of statistics it depends what you put into the spreadsheet. Vivian Woodward of European Industrial Forecasting Ltd says that in terms of numbers it is much more than other estimates.

The Chinese pump market is by far the largest in the world. EIF estimate that market size in 2012 was $9.5 billion, including parts and prime movers. This compares with market size in the USA, the second largest market, of only $5.7 billion. These figures relate to market size valued at ex-factory cost and exclude labour for installation and repair, whether for original equipment or the aftermarket. If we were to add the cost of installation, and also a full valuation of the aftermarket, then Chinese pump market size would amount to around $11 billion in 2012. This is much less than figures reported by some other commentators, who are probably guilty of double-counting as a result of adding in pump distributors.

It is not easy to provide reliable estimates of pump market size in China since Chinese government statistics are known to be unreliable. The EIF approach is to assess production, exports, imports, and so the market, using a wide variety of data. On the import side we have a check on data reported by Chinese customs by examining exports of pumps to China by all the major pump suppliers. On the production side we can compare official data with sales by individual pump companies in China. We can also make an independent estimate of pump market size by combing data on capital investment by pump-using industries with the pump content of investment.

Estimates for 2012

Table 1 summaries our estimates for 2012. Production in China is estimated at $11 billion (ex-factory cost including prime movers). Most high tech pumps are either imported or produced by joint ventures between Western/Japanese companies and indigenous Chinese companies. These joint ventures are estimated to have produced around $4.2 billion, while imports amounted to $4.5 billion. Indigenous Chinese companies (excluding their share of joint-venture sales) account for the production of most medium and lower technology pumps. We have identified 17 of the largest indigenous Chinese companies who together accounted for $2.3 billion production in 2012. Over 2000 small Chinese pump companies together are believed to account for around $4.5 billion of lower technology pumps.

Table 2 shows the sub-division of the market by pump type. Centrifugal pumps account for around 68% of the market for complete pumps. We do not attempt to provide estimates of pump numbers since the very wide variation in pump unit values makes estimates of pump numbers from year to year highly unreliable (unless applied to a small market segment) .

However, it is clear that in terms of numbers, market size for centrifugal pumps in China exceeds 50 million units per year. This is because a large number of small centrifugal pumps are produced for agriculture and water supply. Just four (out of over 2,000) small Chinese companies (Zhejiang Wigo, Guangdong LX Pump, Guangzhou Lingxiao and Shimage) together have capacity to produce 7.5 million centrifugal pumps per year. Our estimate of a minimum of 50 million centrifugal pump units compares with only around 10 million centrifugal pump units given elsewhere.
 

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