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Swiss firm GF ready to ride recovery, NEV boom

Updated: May 10, 2023 Source: China Daily
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The booth of Georg Fischer during an expo in Shanghai. CHINA DAILY

Georg Fischer, a Swiss industrial company, is optimistic about the growth prospects of the Chinese market given China's all-round progress toward the national goal of high-quality development, and hence will continue to increase investment in the country to support local customers and partners, its CEO said.

Known as GF, the company held opening ceremonies for its two factories in Yangzhou, Jiangsu province, and Shenyang, Liaoning province, in late April. The combined investment of the two factories is expected to get close to 1 billion yuan ($144 million) at the final stage.

Andreas Muller, CEO of GF, said in an exclusive interview: "China is one of the most important markets for GF. On a global scale, it's the biggest single market for GF's three divisions, namely the Casting Solutions Division, the Machining Solutions Division and the Piping Systems Division.

"The largest number of machine tools are being consumed here in China, so you have to be here in China. The most cars are being built here in China, and the most new electric vehicles are being built in China as well."

As a Swiss brand with 221 years of history, GF is a major player in safe transport pipelines for liquids and gases, lightweight castings for vehicles, and high-precision machining technology. Its products are used in a wide range of industries like automotive, aerospace, energy, healthcare, and information and communications technology.

GF has 25 subsidiaries in China, including 18 production sites in 14 cities. The new factories in Yangzhou and Shenyang will further expand its manufacturing presence in the Yangtze River Delta region and Northeast China and help provide closer and more convenient services to customers, GF said.

"We believe China will rebound stronger than the rest of the world in terms of GDP growth. We also anticipate that we might be seeing an even stronger growth in the second half of this year than what we have seen in the first quarter and the quarter to come," Muller said.

Such a strong economic rebound, Muller said, will provide more opportunities for GF's development. "The share of new electric vehicles in total car sales in China is impressive. I think it's not a secret that today one of the best technologies in terms of batteries is coming out of China."

Data from the China Passenger Car Association showed that in March, new energy vehicle sales reached 653,000 units, up nearly 35 percent year-on-year. The CPCA estimates that China's NEV sales will reach 9 million units this year, up from 6.9 million in 2022.

The National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic regulator, said earlier that it will take steps to encourage consumption and boost growth momentum, including stabilizing strong spending on cars.

Yang Jinghao, chief economist at Concat Data Technology (Hangzhou) Co, said the NDRC's move to spur car consumption, particularly the promotion of NEVs in rural areas, will boost rural consumption and thus offer more opportunities for NEV-related companies.

According to GF, its Shenyang new casting solutions factory is well-equipped to produce complicated, large automotive structural parts like large body parts for NEVs and instrument panel beams. The Yangzhou factory is the largest and most efficient GF Piping Systems factory in Asia, which can serve customers in relatively new sectors like microelectronics, water treatment, chemicals, marine, construction and data centers.

Editor: Tian Shenyoujia