Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 google plus Instagram YouTube Tuesday 4 August 2015

Navigating new growth markets

By Zhong Nan (China Daily)    10:08, August 04, 2015

BEIJING, Aug. 4 -- During the past two decades, foreign automakers have injected billions into China with an eye on the nation's huge growth opportunities. But things have changed drastically in the past few years with Chinese automakers fast catching up with them in the global markets with inexpensive, easily serviceable products.

Beijing Automotive Group, one of the largest Chinese automakers in terms of sales, is planning to build a large-scale joint venture plant in the Middle East and a factory in Mexico to produce passenger and commercial vehicles over the next three years to compete with established global rivals like Toyota Motor Corp and Ford Motor Co.

Xu Heyi, president of BAIC, said Chinese vehicle manufacturers, who used to rely on gaining easy money through joint venture brands, are shifting focus to overseas markets as growth in the domestic markets has more or less bottomed out.

China's 15 major automakers including Chongqing Lifan Group and Great Wall Motors Group have established 58 overseas plants and till date produced more than 200,000 vehicles in different regional markets, data from the Ministry of Commerce show.

They have also created an 18 billion U.S. dollars worth market for export of auto parts from China.

Under the plan, BAIC, which has subsidiary joint-venture companies including BAIC Hyundai Motor Co Ltd and Beijing Benz Automotive Co Ltd, will adopt the original equipment manufacturer business model in its Mexico factory initially and try to manage its investment to a certain amount to prevent possible political uncertainty.

"Continued foreign and domestic investments in infrastructure development, such as roads and town expansion, will be key for sustained economic growth in Central America and the Middle East during the next decade," said Xu.

Buoyed by the surging demand for new vehicles in Africa, BAIC established a minibus assembly plant, that employs more than 500 people, in Springs, a South African town in 2013. Xu said the company will make more investment in its South Africa production base and the assembly plant in Nairobi, Kenya to produce pickups and light trucks.

The factories in Africa will help the company move closer to the market and avoid paying duties of up to 25 percent. Sales from BAIC's minibus factory are around 250 units per month in South Africa.

Dong Haiyang, president of BAIC International, said that as is the case in most African countries, where new cars are beyond the reach of most people, secondhand vehicles command a large share of the market, with the proportion about 70 percent in most Sub-Sahara African countries such as Ghana, Ethiopia, Angola and Kenya.

The disadvantage of such a big secondhand market is that the brand life of some cars can be as long as 20 years, and anyone with one of the old models can face problems in obtaining spare parts.

For example, Japanese carmakers including Toyota and Nissan Motor Co, the main source for secondhand vehicles in Africa, have stopped producing spare parts for some models from the 1990s.


(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Zhang Qian,Bianji)

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