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Chinese tyre brand Westlake Tyres was launched in Malaysia today. Part of the large Zhongce Rubber Group, the company has set up a marketing office in Malaysia to grow the brand in the country.

“We are proud to be the sole importer and distributor of Westlake to offer a wide range of tyres catered for everyone to experience premium quality tyres at an affordable price. We’re also looking at launching more tyres next year to meet the growing demands of the market,” said Tan Heong Thong, MD of Westlake Marketing Malaysia.

For the Malaysian market, Westlake estimates that 85% of the tyres for sale here are manufactured in Thailand for cost reasons and due to taxation, and that certain, higher-end tyre models are produced in China. The brand’s entry into Malaysia is part of its growing focus on Southeast Asian markets, whereas previously it had been concentrating on mainland China.

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In the brand’s homeland, Westlake is an OEM supplier to manufacturers including Geely, BYD, Changan, Suzuki, Land Rover and Volvo. The tyre manufacturer says that it is also considering OE supply for vehicles assembled in Malaysia, although the automakers were not identified.

Plans are afoot for the introduction of a wide range of products, including tyres for passenger cars, SUVs, 4X4s, light trucks (radial and bias-ply), trucks and buses (radial and bias-ply), off-road, industrial, and agricultural applications.

Westlake Malaysia currently has “over 300 outlets” selling its tyres in Peninsular Malaysia, with that number set to grow alongside the opening of more Westlake Tyres concept stores.

There are currently two concept stores in operation, with one each in Terengganu and Sungai Petani, Kedah, with up to a further two to be opened by year’s end. For 2017, the company aims to open a further 10 concept stores nationwide, according to Han Ter Kwang, Westlake Marketing Malaysia’s GM.