TOKYO, JAPAN—The heavy construction equipment market in Japan is heating up for Komatsu Ltd. just as things are beginning to slow down in China. Komatsu, the second largest construction heavy machinery manufacturer in the world, has seen a steady increase in sales in Japan.
According to recent sales figures given by Chief Executive Officer Kunio Noji, Komatsu has seen orders in Japan increase by 30 percent from April to June compared to the same time period last year. The construction market has been growing steadily in Japan over the last few months as the country attempts to rebuild its infrastructure after the disastrous effects of a massive earthquake and the resulting tsunami that created the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Tokyo back in March of this year.
“There’ll be much rebuilding work, given the damage is more extensive than the Kobe earthquake,” Noji said, referring to a smaller earthquake that occurred in 1995 that caused significant property damage but was nowhere near as catastrophic as the March disaster.
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The growing demand for construction equipment in the Japanese market comes at an ideal time for Komatsu. The company has seen a bit of a slump in sales in China recently, its biggest market, as the construction boom there has finally begun to slow down. Komatsu has seen sales in China decrease by about 40 percent over the past two months, and Noji fears they might not recover until China’s peak season in January starts again.
Fortunately for Komatsu, sales for excavators and wheel loaders are expected to continue to grow in Japan over the next three to five years as the country spends about 16.9 trillion yen ($209 billion USD) on infrastructure construction projects, including fixing bridges, roads, and residential and commercial buildings that were damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.