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Saturday, December 16, 2000, updated at 20:06(GMT+8)

China Capable of Developing Cars Independently

First All China-designed Car Born
Amid the soul-stirring National Anthem of China, a new brand "Zhonghua" (China) car rolled off the production line from the Shenyang Gold-Cup Auto-Making Company in northeast China's Liaoning Province Saturday, December 16.

It is the first car that China possesses full intellectual property rights, declared by Hong Xing, vice president of the Shanghai-based Brilliance China Automotive Holding Ltd., the holding company of the Gold-Cup.

The body, the engine and other key parts of the new sedan, which reaches the same technical standards of those models in the European market, such as Toyota Cammy or Volkswagon Passat B5, were all developed by China to greet the competition emerging from its expected entry into the World Trade Organization.

"Mastering full intellectual property rights, China may decide by itself on car designing and the future development strategy of the domestic automobile industry in tone with the market demand," said Hong Xing.

Some 13 car plants under control of eight largest car groups in China now are either funded by foreign automobile giants or operating under the production licenses of foreign car styles, according to Yang Rong, chairman of the Brilliance Group.

Most of their car productions followed the design of foreign cars of 1980s, Yang said, and China could hardly make change on the key technical indicators as the intellectual property rights belong to the foreign side.

There is no doubt that foreign investment and technologies have helped to promote China's auto industry. However, not possessing the intellectual property rights more or less confined the development of China's national industry, according to Chinese experts.

To own a house and a car is the object pursued by many Chinese people in recent years.

Statistics show that 4.2 percent of urban households in China have had their own cars, and it is estimated that individuals will buy over 600,000 cars by the end of the year.

Eight top car manufacturers in China have reported a total output of 450,000 cars in the first nine months this year.

The "Zhonghua" car will be available in the market in July next year, pricing at around 150,000 to 200,000 yuan (some US$20,000), and its annual output will reach 100,000.

The Brilliance Group spent some US$500 million and over three years to develop the "Zhonghua" sedan, which is designed to meet the demand of medium and high-grade cars in the domestic market.

The Brilliance Group will carry out experiments on the car in the next few months in freezing, muggy and desert regions to guarantee its functions.

Compared with the century-long history of the world's automobile industry, China's auto-industry just debuted in the mid-1950s, when the first automobile plant was set up in Changchun city, northeast China's Jilin Province.

The first domestic "Jiefang" (liberation) truck was produced in 1956, and nine years later, China brought out its first car of "Red Flag", whose engine, along with other key components, are made by foreign equipment and technologies.

With efforts of generations of Chinese people, China now has full capacity to produce all types of auto vehicles, but the medium and high-grade cars market is still under the dominance of foreign investors.

"We hope the birth of 'Zhonghua' may help China to develop its national car industry," said Hong, but "we will continue to follow the international trend and always learn from our adversaries to shorten the technological gap between China and the developed countries in the sector."

In This Section

Amid the soul-stirring National Anthem of China, a new brand "Zhonghua" (China) car rolled off the production line from the Shenyang Gold-Cup Auto-Making Company in northeast China's Liaoning Province Saturday, December 16.

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