News of practices of Chinese companies like Sany could cause United States citizens to wonder how to fit Chinese tactics with American business practices. Some recent examples are suing the U.S. President for blocking a wind farm near a sensitive Oregon naval base, stealing business secrets from a rival in China, alleged bribing of a reporter to inaccurately report on a rival, hacking into other companies' computers, and concerns over possible acquiring of a rival company's intellectual property in the U.S.
The Beijing-based largest construction equipment company in China, mentioned in the October 9, 2012 article China company sues Obama over blocked wind farm deal, lost share value in the Shanghai Stock Exchange and Hong Kong market in 2013 after news of a possible Sany connection in bribes to New Express EXPR reporter Chen Yongzhou who remains jailed.
Chen reported negative information in 14 articles about Sany's number one rival in China, Zoomlion. He confessed on government-owned CCTV news in October 2013, not saying who paid the bribes, but a very brief half page appeared on screen with legible words "…reached agreement. Sany Heavy Industry at our New Express…." Later in the day, Chinese newspaper Caixin reported the memo Chen signed contained the words "San Yi Zhong Gong" which is the Chinese name of Sany Heavy Industry.
The articles began appearing after November 2012 when a Sany employee was arrested for stealing business secrets from Zoomlion. A Zoomlion executive said the company lost RMB 1.4 billion (US $227,782,800) in just one day. The Chinese government owns 27 percent of Zoomlion. The Southern Metropolis Daily reported the rumor that Chen was picked up by a Zoomlion-owned Mercedes-Benz after police purportedly wanted to talk with him about his burglarized apartment.
The New York Times in an article on May 22, 2013 about how corporations employ freelance hackers to spy on competitors. in China said, "Sany Group, one of China’s biggest makers of construction equipment, hired hackers to spy on Zoomlion, a rival, according to official news media reports confirmed by the former hacker. Sany declined to comment."
The Whitehouse in March 2013 demanded that the Chinese government stop the widespread theft of data from American computer networks and join in setting cyberspace standards, saying American businesses are concerned.
In the Ralls company lawsuit over the Oregon wind farm deal, a district judge ruled that the company could not challenge the U.S. president's authority making them sell their wind farm rights based on grounds of threat to national security. They could continue their request for an explanation on how the president arrived at his decision. The owners of Rawls are Dawei Duan, a CFO at Sany, and Jialiang Wu, a group vice president and general manager of Sany Electric Co. Plans were to install turbines made by the Sany Group Company at the four wind farm sites.
Sany Heavy Industry was also in the news in mid-March 2011 for its giant 100-foot blowup poster of John Lanning at the Las Vegas Conexpo/Con Agg trade show for the multibillion-dollar construction equipment industry. Lanning is a/the top expert American crawler crane engineer who got his 24 years of expertise at Sany rival Wisconsin-based Manitowoc. Crawler cranes are the huge ones used to hoist dome roofs over nuclear power plants. Lanning was served papers by Manitowoc attorneys at the show for helping Sany recruit former Manitowoc colleagues.
In October 2009, Manitowoc crane division president Eric Etchart wrote Sany accusing recruiters of contacting employees at their offices. Solicitations continued so a later letter was sent in which Etchart said, "Please be aware that Mr. Lanning and other engineers possess Manitowoc information and intellectual property regarding products, product design, engineering, project plans, etc. … , that may not be shared or used."
Management Fortune says Sany executives are trying to shed Sany's "Made in China" image that their products are not as high quality as Made in the U.S. One way is by hiring Americans like Lanning and Tim Frank, chairman and CEO of Sany America, who worked for Caterpillar and Volvo. The caption under Lanning in front of a Sany crawler crane at the Las Vegas trade show said QUALITY CHANGES THE WORLD.
Sany rose to fifth place in the 2013 KHL Group's Yellow Table world rankings behind Caterpillar, Komatsu, Hitachi and Volvo. In China it is the largest construction equipment company with revenues of $7.6 billion, but with the slowdown of Chinese infrastructure development, Sany is looking for markets outside China. The Malaysian Reserve reported in February 2014 that Sany International Developing, part of the Sany Group of China, and Top-Mech Provincial have partnered with Minetech Resources to leverage their business opportunities to make more competitive bids for projects locally and abroad. Minetech provides specialized civil engineering and quarry services and rental of machinery and manufacturing.
Sany is 37 percent owned by Liang Wengen who joined the Communist Pary in 2004, reportedly after applying 3 times, and was called "one of the party's most influential members" by K Vinotharan in The Malaysian Reserve on February 17, 2014. Private entrepreneur applicants have been historically turned down by the party. Liang came under fire for saying at a press conference in Beijing in 2012 that communists tend to attract "prettier" wives.
Dozens of other Chinese companies are seeking investment and expansion in the United States. They may study Sany America for how to succeed in business in the United States. There are some lessons to be learned such as applying to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) before buying land near military bases.
Watch the attached video of an interview with Xiang Wenbo, President of Sany Heavy Industry, and his comments on the Obama's attitude on the wind farm lawsuit and loss of jobs for Americans.