From Tire Review
AKRON, Ohio and WEIHAI, China After months of discussions and meetings, China’s Triangle Group announced plans to make Akron, Ohio, its U.S. home.
The tiremaker said it would open a research and development center in Akron, and later expand it to include a sales office. All told, Triangle plans to add 30 jobs in the city.
One of the five largest tiremakers in China with revenues listed at around $3 billion annually, Triangle Group is based in Weihai, China.
According to reports, on May 3 Triangle announced in its home city that it had received approval to invest $9 million to establish an R&D center in Akron. Reportedly, Yu Hua Ding, chairman of Triangle Group, traveled to Akron in May or June to visit The University of Akron’s polymer science center.
Officials from The University of Akron told the Akron Beacon Journal that Triangle has actually signed an agreement with it for an undisclosed sum and will “hire university researchers over the next few months to begin work as soon as January at the Akron Polymer Research Innovation Center on the UA campus.”
According to sources, Robert Bowman, head of the Akron Economic Development Board was involved in some of the discussions, and the University of Akron Research Foundation was also involved. The Foundation reportedly owns one of the buildings Triangle will occupy in downtown Akron.
Triangle will formally launch A3T LLC, the name of its U.S. tire R&D and sales company, this month, and apparently Triangle has already hired its first employee for the research operations. The move makes Triangle the second full-time tire resident in a city once touted as the Rubber Capital of the World and home to numerous tiremakers like Firestone, General, BFGoodrich and others. Goodyear still calls Akron home, and, in fact, is currently constructing a new world headquarters in the city.
According to Triangle’s own English-language website, “Triangle Group was established in 1976. It mainly produces radial passenger, truck/bus, OTR/EM tires and an array of bias-ply tyres with annual production capacity of more than 20 million units, including 16 million radial tyres. It is the largest tyre manufacturer equipped with producing, sales and development sectors.
"Triangle brand tyres have acquired the authorized certification such as DOT, ECE, and CCC etc. Its performance index has reached advanced level in the world and has more than 30 patents issued by nation. Triangle Radial OTR Tyre is awarded ‘National Science & Technology Progress’ First Prize by State.
“Triangle Group has provided OE tyres to almost 40 auto manufactures such as FAW, Dong Feng Motor Corp, Golden Dragon, Yutong Auto Corp., Modern Auto Corp. and Shandong engineering and machinery Corp. and all the year. In international market, it has established strategic partnership with Caterpillar, Volvo, Goodyear, etc. The networks for replacement market can be found over 160 countries and regions. Triangle has finished trademark protection registration at over 90 countries and regions.”
Meanwhile, the mayors of both Akron and Weihai, Don Plusquellic and Shutao Sun, signed a deal making them sister cities.
“Through this agreement, the cities of Weihai and Akron acknowledge that to succeed in this global economy, we must seek out and develop relationships beyond our borders,” Plusquellic said.