Chinese new energy buses gallop into Arab market

(Xinhua) 10:30, December 15, 2022

This aerial photo taken in July 2020 shows school buses produced by Xiamen King Long United Automotive Industry Co., Ltd. for export at a port in Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province. (Xinhua)

XIAMEN, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- In the workshop of Xiamen King Long United Automotive Industry Co., Ltd, one of China's leading bus makers, engineers were doing static debugging on an olive green bus, readying its instrument panel, lights, and air conditioning for their faraway client in Saudi Arabia.

In a few days, the bus would be loaded and shipped from Xiamen Port in east China's Fujian Province before heading for its final destination.

"This is our company's first electric bus powered by new energy to be exported to an Arab country. We are optimistic about the market prospect of new energy buses in Arab countries and regions," said Wang Qiong, an overseas service manager for the Middle East region.

For more than two decades, across the mountains and oceans, vehicles of King Long have driven to the markets in Arab countries and regions, one of the world's largest passenger bus markets.

Years ago, the Arab market still favored brands like Daewoo and Hyundai from the Republic of Korea (ROK), Mercedes, MAN, and Volvo from Europe, as well as some Japanese bus brands.

Though the automobile demand of Arab countries relied on imports at that time, considering the total population of 500 to 700 million people in those countries around the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea, the Arab market indicates huge development potential. Meanwhile, passenger buses made in China show their unique advantages over others in fields of practical qualities and cost-effectiveness, said Wang.

In 2001, King Long started to export buses to Arab countries. In 2005, the company exported 450 luxury passenger buses to Saudi Arabia, the largest industrial export order in China that year.

From then on, Chinese passenger buses represented by products of King Long successfully forayed into the Arab market, winning consumer hearts abroad despite the harsh climate, geographical conditions, and increasingly fierce market competition.

This aerial photo taken in April 2020 shows buses produced by Xiamen King Long United Automotive Industry Co., Ltd. for export at a port in Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province. (Xinhua)

"Arab countries are dry and hot all year round, often with windy and sandy days. According to their road conditions, ambient temperatures, and local driving habits, we tailored our vehicles in design details. For instance, improving the vehicle's ground clearance, adopting high temperature resistant and anti-aging materials in the interior and seats, and using high-power air conditioning with great cooling capacity," said Jin Shoulin, deputy general manager of King Long's international trade company.

The King Long group is also studying possible problems in its customer operation, providing troubleshooting solutions, and adjusting its products to cater to local needs. Its localized products have been highly appreciated among customers and brought new profit margins.

After-sales service teams equipped with professional technical staff are also sent to Arab countries regularly, and exclusive service stations and spare parts centers have been built in those countries to respond to consumers' needs timely.

Notably, the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and hajj, a pilgrimage to the holiest sites of Islam, can be the most important transportation period for companies in the traffic sector, as millions of pilgrims flock to the streets. The extremely hot and dry climate during the holy month can add to the great challenge faced by vehicles and their drivers.

Therefore, the service teams of King Long would stand by around the clock during such periods to safeguard their clients. Sometimes, when the staff must check vehicles till late or encounter sandstorms, the service teams must sleep in the service stations instead of returning home.

To date, exported passenger buses manufactured by King Long have reached 22 Arab countries and regions in the Middle East. Over 63,000 passenger buses worth more than 9.2 billion yuan (about 1.32 billion U.S. dollars) have been exported to Arab countries and regions in the Middle East.

From January to October this year, 3,720 King Long passenger buses were exported to Arab countries and Middle East regions, said the company.

Liu Zhijun, general manager of King Long, said that the company would continue to seize the opportunities brought by the Belt and Road Initiative and further eye new directions, including energy conservation, environment protection, and intelligent mobility.

"In the future, we will promote our mature, intelligent, and internet-connected technologies to the developed markets in Arab countries, hoping to meet the travel needs of the locals," Liu said.

(Web editor: Cai Hairuo, Liang Jun)


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