Chinese truck maker SinoTruk has told  China Daily that it is targeting strong growth in its export sales in coming years and it has targeted Australia as one of  the markets it will be targeting.

SinoTruk has had some limited forays in Australia in the past with several trucks  being used in a Chinese owned mine in the Kimberley in the late 2000s.

While saying that it will be consolidating its position in Africa and Southeast Asia, Sinotruk says it will be making forays into developed countries, including Australia, New Zealand and Ireland.

SinoTruk or China National Heavy Duty Truck Group Corp as it is more formally known. is betting big on the overseas market, with the expectation that half of its total sales will come from outside of China by 2020, according to the company.

The Shandong province-based manufacturer exported 33,700 heavy trucks to overseas markets in 2017, which accounted for  around 11 per cent of its total sales for the year.

Rising demand in Africa and countries involved in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, has seen SinoTruk receive export orders for  19,356 heavy trucks in the first quarter this year, an increase of closer to 19 per cent year-on-year.

“This is a good start, and we are optimistic about our export sales goal of 40,000 units this year,” said Yang Zhengxu, president of SinoTruk International, the subsidiary dedicated to its overseas operations.

SinoTruk was one of China’s first heavy vehicle manufacturers to begin exploring overseas markets.

“We made it a corporate strategy to go global as early as 2004, and we have been China’s largest heavy truck exporter for 13 years in a row, totalling more than 300,000 units,” Yang said.

SinoTruk has offices in close to 70 countries and is selling trucks in around 110 countries and regions around the globe.

The company also has 15 assembly plants in nine countries, including the Philippines, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Vietnam.

Lan Junjie, general manager of the manufacturer’s international department, said SinoTruk has set a firm goal to increase its presence in developed countries in the future.

“In five to 10 years, we hope that we can compete with rivals like Volvo or Man, technologically,” Lan said.

SinoTruk has also invested heavily in research and development. In China, it has a technology centre in Shandong that said to be one of the best and most advanced of its kind in the world.

Lan said that SinoTruk has been looking closely at new energy vehicles, connectivity and autonomous driving as part of its R&D efforts.

The company is also preparing to establish research and development facilities overseas.

Sinotruk acquired a stake in an electric motor maker in Colorado in the United States in 2017 and the two sides are in discussions to set up a research center dedicated to studies on new energy vehicles, Lan said.