Chinese auto firms accelerate expansion along Belt and Road

Chinese automobile enterprises are stepping up the pace of expanding presence in countries and regions along the Belt and Road by setting up R&D centers, building production bases or rolling out retailing outlets to enhance their global competitiveness.

Driven by the Belt and Road Initiative, China FAW Group, as a large automobile group, has seen its business spreading to major regions including Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, covering 48 countries, with 49 first-level dealers and 227 second-level dealers overseas.

At present, for the Hongqi sedans, China FAW Group has built a global R&D team consisting of more than 5,000 people. At its global R&D headquarters in Changchun, FAW Group has newly established a design institute, a new energy research institute and an intelligent network research and development institute. Besides, it has also set up a new forward-looking design branch in Munich, Germany, and an artificial intelligence R&D branch in Silicon Valley, according to Xu Liuping, chairman of the FAW Group.

As one of the largest SUV manufacturers in China, in recent years, Great Wall Motor has actively expanded its presence in overseas market. Its sales companies in Russia, Australia and South Africa have been operating steadily.

In addition, Great Wall Motor has also vigorously promoted localization. Its factory in Tulskaya Oblast, Russia, involving a total investment of 500 million U.S. dollars, is expected to be completed and put into operation in February 2019. The factory is designed to produce 150,000 vehicles annually.

Meanwhile, China's large automakers, FAW Group, Dongfeng Motor Corporation and Changan Automobile Company, also signed strategic cooperation agreements to actively explore their in-depth cooperation in such fields as overseas products, overseas terminal network resources, overseas business partners, overseas manufacturing resources, and international logistics.

Other automakers in China including Geely Auto Group, Great Wall Motor Company Limited, Chery Automobile Co., Ltd, Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group and BAIC Motor are also stepping up the pace of expanding on a global scale by means of initiating mergers and acquisitions (M&As), setting up new factories, and introducing new products, especially in the countries and regions along the Belt and Road.

The Chinese automobile enterprises have seen their share in the local auto markets gradually increasing.

According to the latest report from the Chilean National Automobile Association (Anac), in the first half of this year, more than 30,000 Made-in-China vehicles were sold in Chile, accounting for 15.6 percent of the sales in the local market. Sales of the Made-in-China vehicles surpassed those made in South Korea and Japan for the first time. To be specific, sales of the vehicles made by China's Chery Automobile, Jianghuai Automobile and Changan Automobile each exceeded 3,500 units during the period.

Analysts point out that the Belt and Road Initiative has provided a good environment for the Chinese automobile companies and their products to go global.

While expanding their presence along the Belt and Road, the Chinese automobile enterprises also export more vehicles.

Data of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) shows that in the first seven months of the year, the Chinese automobile enterprises exported 607,000 vehicles, an increase of 30.6 percent year on year.

Editor: 董平