Français
XTRA CHAMBRE DE COMMERCE MTL ET ADM
Portraits of SMEs
Board of Trade
member companies that
have made the leap!
robert baril general director

TM4: Powering
China with Quebec technology

For TM4, a company well known for developing and building electric motors, China is a strategic market.

“The electrification of transportation plays an important role in the country’s five-year plan. Within two to three years, we estimate the number of electric buses sold to China per year will be 50,000, while the total number of all types of buses sold in Quebec in one year is only around 500", states Robert Baril, General Director of TM4.

After having started its process in 2010, TM4 made its initial contact with Prestolite Electric (Beijing) Limited, a leading supplier of electrical ‎machines for the heavy vehicle industry in China, during a trade mission in 2011. One year later, the two companies joined forces to establish Prestolite Electric Propulsion Systems (PEPS), a joint venture for the building of electric motorization systems for buses, trucks, heavy machinery, and water transportation.

"China is an exceptional commercial and technological showcase. By establishing operations in China, TM4 demonstrates that it is a player that must be taken seriously, and that can be successful everywhere."

Robert Baril

Taking advantage of Prestolite’s presence in the field, this joint venture has allowed TM4 to rapidly enter the Chinese supply chain. “We had the opportunity to be able to rely on a partner that was already familiar with working with Westerners, which made the process easier. However, we nevertheless had to overcome certain challenges, notably in terms of workforce training,” adds Mr. Baril. Extensive selection and on-site training was therefore necessary. Operating in the hi-tech field, TM4 also made sure to have a strategy to protect its intellectual property. So, even though the product is destined for the Chinese market, the company chose to keep certain strategic activities in Quebec, in order to maintain control.

While maintaining a presence in China is a constant challenge, the benefits warrant doing so. “China is an exceptional commercial and technological showcase. By establishing operations in China, TM4 demonstrates that it is a player that must be taken seriously, and that can be successful everywhere,” concludes Robert Baril.

Clyde Sharpe General Director

Elasto Proxy:
from importer
to exporter

In 2001, Elasto Proxy, a family business in the rubber and plastics industry, established its trade relationship with China. The country represented a source of raw materials at a reasonable cost, and the company began to get its supply in China for its factory in Boisbriand.

"Now the country is more of an interest to us as a client than as a supplier."

Clyde Sharpe

But today, Elasto Proxy’s interest in China has undergone a marked change, according to its General Manager, Clyde Sharpe. “Now the country is more of an interest to us as a client than as a supplier,” he states. While the company imports fewer and fewer products from China, it has been exporting several to the country since 2010.

Exporting rubber and plastic parts to Asia from Quebec may seem surprising. But while Chinese companies active in the field specialize in mass production, Elasto Proxy distinguishes itself by supplying high-quality rubber and plastic components in small volumes. “Since joining the WTO, China has undergone a lot of change and its domestic market has exploded. We’re seeing an ever-increasing demand for quality, custom-made products, creating a niche market that is allowing our company to enter Chinese supply chains,” explains Mr. Sharpe

"We had to do a lot of research and gain access to specialized databases to prepare our plan."

Clyde Sharpe

However, even though the company was already importing raw material from China, selling on the Chinese market required a number of steps. “We had to do a lot of research and gain access to specialized databases to prepare our plan. Once we were ready, we took part in a trade mission, recruited an agent on-site, and went to several events,” adds Mr. Sharpe. But the effort was worth it. China now occupies an important position in the company’s future plans. It hopes to soon open a warehouse in China and to stock goods in the country in order to speed up service to its clients. Once this step is complete, Elasto Proxy even intends to use its presence in China as a springboard to other Asian countries.

Image provided by TM4

Image provided by TM4

Image provided by TM4

Image provided by Elasto Proxy

Image provided by Elastro Proxy

Image provided by Elastro Proxy

An initiative of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and Aéroports de Montréal
Logo CCMM