Chinese automakers rev up global expansion

Updated: 2013-07-19 09:23


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State-owned automakers have also joined in with ambitious expansion plans.

Beijing Automobile Industry Corp (BAIC) announced its international strategy in June, vowing to bring its annual overseas sales to 400,000 units by 2020, of which 70 percent will be manufactured outside China.

Foton Motor, a commercial vehicle branch of BAIC, recently announced a 670 million yuan ($106 million) investment plan that will result in the construction of a plant in Brazil.

However, China has witnessed a retreat in its automobile exports after years of brisk growth.

Figures from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) show that China exported 486,800 vehicles in the first six months of the year, down 0.6 percent from the same period last year.

Dong Yang, executive vice president of CAAM, said it is too early to comment on the export slide.

Industry watchers have been questioning the export structure for Chinese automakers, noting that most vehicles go to markets in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Zhang said emerging markets were prioritized in the industry's initial stages of growth. "But we do have plans to enter the European and American markets gradually," he said.

Zhang said expertise built up in emerging markets will help Chinese automakers gain a foothold in more developed areas.

"Chinese automakers will definitely enter the European and American markets. It is simply a question of time," Zhang said.

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