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Xinhua Headlines: World's largest auto market eyes NEV, AI for new growth

2019/04/18
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SHANGHAI, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Global carmakers are making the Auto Shanghai 2019 a launch pad for their new energy vehicles (NEV), as the world's largest automobile market pins hope on NEV and AI for impetus, following last year's contraction in car sales, the first in 28 years.

Over 1,000 auto industry producers from 20 countries and regions brought their new models and concept cars to the Auto Shanghai 2019, which opened Thursday.

Nearly all tr​​aditional automobile producers brought their new NEV models to the exhibition, ranging from fuel battery-powered, plug-in hybrids to pure electric cars. The competition is especially fierce in the battle for shares of China's 1.5 million electric car sales forecast for this year.

NEW ENERGY BOOM

Nineteen new energy brands including GAC NE, WM-Motor and Grove made their debut at the auto show during the exhibition's media days on Tuesday and Wednesday. Most are Chinese carmakers.

Joachim Eberlein, managing director of Jebsen Motors, a Porsche dealer at the auto show, also noticed that Chinese customers are quite interested in NEVs, which is reflected in the high import numbers.

"We are actively preparing to introduce foreign electric vehicles with after-sales service," he said, adding the company is training skilled personnel to provide repair and maintenance services for foreign electric vehicles in China, while investing in the building of charging facilities.

Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), the world's leading professional services provider, predicted that by 2030, the percentage of electric vehicles against all new cars would reach 50 percent in China, 44 percent in the EU and up to 20 percent in the United States.

INTELLIGENT CONNECTIVITY

This year's Shanghai auto exhibition set up a special zone featuring "life on wheels of the future" for the first time, which showcases new technology including vehicle networking, driverless solutions, laser radars, smart chips and high-precision positioning and maps.

Carmakers have eyed automation, network connection, electrification and sharing as four key features of the future trend of the global automobile industry.

PwC predicted that the market for connected services in China would grow from 600 million U.S. dollars in 2017 to 39.5 billion dollars by 2030.

The market value of the ICV industry in China is expected to exceed 100 billion yuan by 2020, according to the Ministry of the Industry and Information Technology.

China's drive in connectivity, automation and electrification has brought opportunities to companies worldwide.

MORE COMPETITIVE MARKET

China's fast growth in automobile sales came to a halt last year. Car sales in 2018 dropped by over 4 percent from a year earlier, representing the first decline in 28 years, according to CAAM data.

However, exhibitors at the show generally saw the slowdown as an opportunity rather than a risk.

Eberlein said the demand for high-quality vehicles is still strong in China. Younger generations are keen on premier brands and new models with high-end configuration, especially when they renew their transport tools.

"For Jebsen Motors, we are confident of meeting China's new trends in the automotive market together with the Porsche brand," he said.

In 2018, the added value of the automobile manufacturing industry increased by 4.9 percent year on year, and the main business income increased by 2.9 percent, which indicates that the industry has undergone the smooth adjustment in the upgrading of industrial structure, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The NEV market has seen a more fierce competition, as China opened up the market wider.

As of February 2019, Shenzhen-based BYD has delivered more than 50,000 pure electric buses worldwide, covering developed automotive markets in Europe, the United States and Japan. Its NEVs are sold in over 300 cities across 50 countries.

—— Article excerpt from Xinhua News

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