A newly-published report by Santander and CBBC details the landscape of China’s automotive industry, as well as key opportunities for British brands such as the already successful Jaguar Land Rover and others looking to enter the market
China is the world’s top automotive market, with 25.8 million new vehicles sold in 2019 versus 17 million in the United States. Private car ownership in China stood at 207 million in 2019 compared to just 3.7 million in 2000, the year that China entered the World Trade Organisation. In the same period, private car ownership per 1,000 capita surged from just 3 to 148. Although these increases have been substantial, there is still huge potential in China’s car industry, since the ownership rate is still comparatively low compared to the US or countries in Europe.
From the perspective of UK original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), China continues to be the main international growth driver. For example, China is the largest market for Jaguar Land Rover, which sold 146,399 cars in the country in 2017 – more than was sold in the whole European Union market. China will continue to be a growth engine for UK brands, and tier two and three UK suppliers should be aware of China’s growth areas to ensure they’re aligned and bringing value within the wider supply chain in order to be part of the overall growth story.
China has targeted developments in specific parts of the automotive sector as a key part of its industrial strategy, Made in China 2025. This includes new energy vehicles (NEVs) and intelligent and connected vehicles. To tap into China’s auto market, UK companies can make use of major local industry events as first-step market entry opportunities.
Brands can attend auto-related exhibitions, trade shows or forums to showcase their products and pitch to potential Chinese clients. For example, China EV100 Forum 2021, which was held on 15 January this year, is a major online forum in the NEV sector. More than 200 VIP guests joined the next-generation vehicle event, including those from governments, associations, research institutes and companies. As automakers and supply chain manufacturers aspire to produce better quality vehicles and components, Testing Expo China 2021 in September 2021 is another event to be considered. Automechanika Shanghai will also take place in November 2021.