China Zenix Auto International Limited ("ZHENGXING WHEEL GROUP CO., LTD.") specializes in the design, development, manufacture and sales of high-quality commercial vehicle wheels used by most types of commercial vehicles in China. We are the largest commercial vehicle wheel manufacturer in China in both the aftermarket and OEM market in sales volume. With more than 615 series of tubed, tubeless and off-road steel wheels, we have the most diversified product portfolio in the Chinese commercial vehicle wheel market, the largest commercial vehicle market in the world.
We began operations in 2003 and by 2007 we had achieved a market share of 12.3%. By 2013 we had captured 19.3% of the Chinese commercial vehicle market. For 2014, we reported sales of $537 million.
China Zenix's OEM customers include more than 84 automotive manufacturers including leading domestic brands such as SAIC-IVECO Hongyan Commercial Vehicle, Beiqi Foton Motor, Baotou Bei Ben Heavy-Duty Truck, Zhengzhou Yutong, FAW Jiefang Automotive and Dongfeng Motor. Our reputation for producing wheels to custom specifications with the highest standards of safety, strength and durability has continued to drive our market share in this market segment. We also sell our products to end-users in the Chinese aftermarket through our nationwide distribution network of more than 4,300 distributors – the most extensive network among the commercial vehicle wheel manufacturers in China.
While we continue to grow our market share in China, we export our products to more than 30 countries worldwide. We sell to more than 80 distributors in foreign aftermarkets and directly to leading OEMs in India and Japan.
China Zenix had approximately 4,719 dedicated employees and a total production capacity of over 15.0 million wheel units annually, as of December 31, 2014.
We have six manufacturing facilities across China, strategically located near our OEM customers and material suppliers in Zhangzhou and An'hua, Fujian Province, Langfang, Hebei Province, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, Hefei, Anhui Province, and Benxi, Liaoning Province. This efficient structure and our expanding economies-of-scale enable us to better control production and shipping costs.
Our commitment to research and development of new wheel models as well as ongoing enhancements to existing wheel product quality and production technology has enabled us to adapt to the changing demands of our customers. Our research and development team of 329 engineers and technicians is one of the largest and most experienced in the industry. With a large intellectual property portfolio of 91 patents including 4 invention patents, 73 utility model patents, 14 design patents and 539 trademarks in China with more pending, we believe we are a leader in Chinese wheel technology.
In addition to our steel wheels, we have built the first domestic production facility in China for aluminum wheels targeting the commercial vehicle market. Our aluminum wheels meet or exceed steel wheels in a number of performance criteria including fuel economy and safety. We expect to our aluminum wheel production will ramp up by the end of 2015. We anticipate our aluminum wheels will begin to replace higher-priced imported aluminum wheels in the Chinese market, especially in the bus market. Additionally, our aluminum wheels will help lead the transition away from steel in China.
China Zenix is well positioned to continue its leadership position in the large and dynamic Chinese commercial vehicle wheel market as well as other auto markets around the world.