Marelli CEO says strong presence in China crucial to business development

Updated: April 28, 2024 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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People visit the 2024 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition in Shunyi District, Beijing, capital of China, April 25, 2024. (Xinhua/Cai Yang)

BEIJING, April 28 (Xinhua) -- Strong presence in China remains crucial to Marelli's global development strategy, David Slump, president and CEO of the leading automotive supplier, told Xinhua in the latest interview.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, Slump expressed confidence in the China market and pledged that the company will keep investing in China. "We asked ourselves: What's the next China? The answer is China."

Focusing on areas such as automotive lighting, electronic systems, propulsion solutions and green technology solutions, Marelli has laid down solid business foundations in China with eight business units and 22 factories established. Over the years, it has forged partnerships with China's leading auto companies, including BYD, Geely and Chery.

China plays multiple roles in the global business blueprint for Marelli, the senior executive said. With 15 percent of business revenue and 25 percent of new orders coming from the country, Marelli expects business in China to grow faster than elsewhere globally.

As the world's largest automotive market and also the fastest-changing vehicle market in the world, China holds strong appeal to foreign auto enterprises, he said.

Industrial data showed that China has topped the global lists in terms of both auto output and sales for 15 consecutive years. Last year, auto sales and production of the country both exceeded 30 million units.

Slump noted that Chinese auto consumers attach great importance to experiences and applications. Such a market feature, combined with the country's smart energy systems and the advanced technology ecosystems, renders it an ideal test ground for new technologies.

"If we can make it here with the technologies we are showcasing, we can replicate it elsewhere once other markets catch up," the CEO said.

While remaining committed to the "China for China" strategy, Marelli has further expanded it to "China for Global," digging into opportunities for cooperation with Chinese carmakers as they increase overseas footprints.

"The powerhouses of Chinese carmakers will be global powerhouses and we want to invest with Chinese automakers in other markets as well," he said.

Having been in China for about 30 years, Marelli has evolved along with the market. To thrive on the intensifying competition in the new energy vehicle industry, the company has prioritized co-creation with customers, deep collaboration with local suppliers and the development of capable and empowered local teams.

Currently, it has eight research and development centers across China, boasting strong local research teams capable of developing products both for the China market and beyond.

In the last Consumer Electronic Show, three out of the five new innovations that the company showcased were from the China team, evidence of the innovative strength of the research squad here, Slump said.

Marelli has 5,000 employees in the country. To sharpen its competitive edge in innovation, it plans to expand its China team by increasing the number of engineers from 800 to 1,000.

Moving forward, Slump also expects the company's China team to forge deeper collaboration with local suppliers and be better positioned to meet demand from the global market.

"We want a head of purchasing in China that acts like a Marelli chief procurement officer globally, because we believe the next Toyota or the next Hyundai will be a Chinese car manufacturer serving the world," the CEO said.

Editor: Su Dan