SELLING bullbars designed to repel kangaroos on rural Australian roads in China seems a lofty idea but the nation's largest manufacturer based here in Toowoomba is keen to check it out.
Tuff Bullbars Australia managing director Anton Griffiths says it's not impossible to imagine Chinese SUVs fitted out with chrome bullbars, if only for the "bling'' factor.
"With the Chinese population increasing and them wanting to have more on their vehicles, we see there might potentially be a market over there," Mr Griffiths said.
"Secondly, there's also the opportunity to get stuff from there, from that existing market."
Tuff Bullbars has secured market-leader position in Australia and the brand is gaining traction around the world in its existing international markets including India and south-east Asia.
Mr Griffiths said China represented the next step in its expansion.
"We look at a lot of overseas markets," he said.
"There're no kangaroos in India but there are plenty of animals on the roads.
"We make bullbars but there are other things such as special racks for the tops of vans in Brisbane.
"So while it is bullbar-related, we've got a pretty talented workforce behind us."
He said the Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise AccessChina'16 delegation presented the opportunity to secure cheaper products to keep the local firm viable, but also tap into the specialised component market.
"While being an Australian company and employing Australians we want to remain competitive and I can't see why we can't get some things made over there," Mr Griffiths said.
"Such as products and components that can be made in the thousands.
"We'll be swooping on the opportunity if it's there."
TSBE executive chairman Shane Charles said firms looking to remain viable in the domestic market should pursue opportunities in the manufacturing sphere in China and wider Asia.
"From a manufacturing perspective, clearly we can't compete with the Asian countries when it comes to labour," he said.
"One thing is their potential to outsource easier components in the manufacturing process.
"We are really good at design and high-end specialised manufacturing."
Tuff Bullbars Australia employs 50 people in Toowoomba where it opened 14 years ago.
Current global market penetration includes Fiji, Vanuatu and India.
The company also includes powder coating and civil construction services.
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