Zoomlion Heavy Industries is not the only Chinese company to ruffle the feathers at Agritechnica this week. The Lovol Arbos Group in Hall five is the second major Chinese company using the German show to announce plans to develop a new global farm machinery brand. Claiming to make around 100,000 tractors and 50,000 combines a year, parent company Foton Lovol Heavy Industry is one of the most powerful farm machinery companies in China. With a claimed 35-40% share of its native tractor market, the company reckons to supply 70% of the combines harvesters used in cereal crops. The volumes are staggering but the average size of the harvesters is small by European standards, and a 100hp tractor is still considered large in China. However, marketing manager Alessandro Zambelli of the Lovol Arbos Group reckons things are changing and Chinese farmers are seeking more power and higher levels of technology. “The trend is similar to what happened in Europe 10-15 years ago,” he says, “and we want to keep pace.” Foton Lovol is currently investing many tens of million of Euros to maintain its leading position on the changing Chinese tractor market, while at the same time develop higher-horsepower and higher-spec tractors that it can also sell in other areas of the world, including Europe. The first steps in this direction were taken mid-2014 when Foton Lovol bought the rights to the Arbos brand name. While little known in the rest of Europe, this Italian company has a long history of making tractors – initially under the Bubba brand. Bicycles and combine harvesters were added to the portfolio, and the company name changed a couple of times to Arbos-Bubba and later Arbos. The last Arbos combine harvester was produced in 1994, and we understand Lovol Arbos not only acquired the Arbos name but over 70,000 combine harvester drawings and designs. Earlier this year, the Chinese parent company also acquired MaterMacc – the well-known Italian precision planter and cereal drill manufacturer – but more on this later. Preceding these two deals, in 2011 the Chinese parent company quietly established a European head office and R+D division in Bologna, Italy. Initially known as Lovol Europe Engineering, but re-named in September this year as the Lovol Arbos Group, the location is within the beating heart of the country’s agricultural engineering centre with access to lots of well-known suppliers and components. Lovol Arbos really is a case of ‘east meets west’ with finance and resources coming from Foton Lovol resulting in a European designed tractor that is currently built in China. Starting from a clean sheet of paper it has taken the 30-strong engineering team less than three years to develop three tractors ranges at the higher end of the power scale, all of which take Foton Lovol into new markets. The four-model 5000 Series (100-130hp) will be the first to go on sale in Europe. While designed in Italy, the four tractors are fitted with Foton Lovol-built axles and transmissions, and the company has installed a new production line to make the cab, transmission and chassis for the 5000 Series in China.  Lovol Arbos has a similar marketing approach to Europe as Zoomlion in that the tractors will be marketed as providing good value for money, and roughly 10-15% cheaper than comparable western-built models. The concern admits it is not looking to challenge the high-tech end of the market, such as Fendt and John Deere, but instead sees itself more of a serious contender to brands such as Kubota and Zetor. The 5000 Series on display at Agritechnica this week are shown in pre-production form for the Chinese market, where they will be sold with non-emissions engines. We will have to wait for the Italian EIMA 2016 machinery show in Bologna next November to see the finished results for the European market. When the range does go on sale in Europe early 2017, power will come from Kohler Stage IV engines.