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Understanding the growing Chinese automotive after-sales market

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The Chinese market for auto parts and services has grown significantly in recent years and, as it matures, plenty of opportunities remain for astute operators, writes Helen Han

China has become an unparalleled market for international auto parts and accessories. With 240 million passenger vehicles, the market is worth RMB 150 trillion, and double-digit growth is anticipated over the coming decades. However, with such great opportunities, there will always be challenges.

Being unfamiliar with the market, channels, users, and competitors, international brands often hesitate to start their business in this profitable Chinese market. In February, the 2019 Auto Aftermarket Terminal Store Report was issued by YASN Data Center during the China International Auto Aftermarket Exhibition (CIAACE) to help those who want to understand China’s auto aftermarket.

China’s auto aftermarket is in the process of upgrading and reconstruction

In the early 21st century, thanks to the rapid development of the economy and booming sales of passenger vehicles, China’s auto aftermarket experienced an extensive period of development. As time went by, production costs increased, the competition became increasingly fierce, and profit margins were put under pressure. Companies that produced low-cost, low-quality products with no brands went out of business. The market entered a period of integration.

On the other hand, as the children of the 80s and 90s became the mainstream of car ownership, driving enjoyment, safety and health became more important. These Chinese consumers are keen for international brands and conspicuous consumption to show off their personalities. This upgrading and restructuring China’s auto aftermarket provides huge market space for international brands.

Auto services have become the market engine

China’s auto aftermarket can be divided into two segments: auto accessories and auto services. Auto accessories refers to car parts and related products used in car modification, car beauty & care, auto decoration, etc. whilst auto services covers areas such as auto maintenance and repair. In recent years, auto services have become the main driver of growth in China’s auto aftermarket, accounting for 40% of the market in 2010, with this increasing to 66 percent in 2018.

With 240 million passenger vehicles, the market is worth RMB 150 trillion, and double-digit growth is anticipated over the coming decades

Auto parts distribution channels are in the process of flattening

Currently, China’s auto aftermarket provides poor procurement opportunities due to the fragmented and inefficient nature of its multiple-layer distribution structure. As the industry becomes more integrated, the distribution network becomes more efficient with large-scale, professional and intensive wholesalers.

Establish high-efficient channels in regional markets

The seven major regions of China’s auto aftermarket have different characteristics, with the market levels in each basically consistent with their economic conditions. Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou lead the market, with Guangzhou at the top with RMB 25.01 billion, Beijing on RMB 24.48 billion and Shanghai, RMB 22.91 billion.

Geographically, the “active” South China segment is the most significant market, both in terms of production and consumption, and it keeps growing. This market increased by 24.6% in 2018, and the trend looks likely to continue.

Elsewhere, the “rational” East China segment is seeing high levels of economic development. The auto aftermarket here is relatively mature, and the market scale keeps growing. The market growth of East China increased by 17.8% in 2018.

Meanwhile, the “Passionate” North China market has high average single consumption, whilst also acting as the distribution centre for the north half of the country.

CIAACE opens a window and provides opportunities

The China International Auto Accessories Exhibition (CIAACE), organized by YASN International Exhibition Co., was held for the first time in 2005. Currently, CIAACE is held twice a year and concentrates on the two big market centres – Beijing and Guangzhou. The exhibition gathers channel resources together, interprets market trends, builds up brand promotion stages, and provides the ideal platform for international brands to tap into China’s auto aftermarket.

The 28th CIAACE took place in Beijing in February, with 5,593 exhibitors attracting 286,000 professional visitors. Victor Park, Marketing Manager of Detailing (South Korea) said:

“This is the first time that Detailing has participated in CIAACE. It is an ideal platform for international exhibitors to tap into the Chinese market; we met many Chinese consumers and negotiated with Chinese companies who would like to become our agents. We found some great business opportunities this time and plan to participate in future events.”

The 29th CIAACE will be held at the China Import and Export Fair Complex on July 1-3, 2019. With an exhibiting area of 100,000 square meters, more than 4,000 exhibitors are expected to showcase auto electronics, interior & exterior decoration, car beauty & care, fast repair & maintenance, car wash, and parts. Concurrent events include the China Auto Aftermarket Development Forum, which will explain the development status and trends of China’s auto aftermarket to international exhibitors; Business Matchmaking, which will provide high-quality targeting channel resources for international exhibitors; and Brand Launch / New Product Release, which will provide a promotional platform for international brands.

 YASN International Exhibition Co. Ltd, established in Beijing in 2002, is the leading professional trade show organizer dedicated to the Chinese auto aftermarket. A member of the Union of International Fairs (UFI), YASN’s exhibition is held every year at different times, and include the China International Auto Aftermarket Exhibition (CIAACE), ALL in TUNING, the Agriculture Expo, and the Smart Show (the International Educational IT Solutions Expo).

For more information on CIAACE contact Helen Han on hanzhaoxia@yasn.com.cn

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