In the lead-up to two events in Beijing and Shanghai celebrating the 50th anniversary of UK-China ambassadorial relations, FOCUS speaks to British companies that have experienced success in the Chinese market over the last half a century
In this first instalment, we speak to Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) about being ‘In China, for China’, promoting Sino-British cultural exchange through its charitable fund, and how CBBC has helped along the way.
How and when did JLR enter the China market and what major successes and growth have you had during this time?
Since entering China in 2010, we’ve been committed to providing high-quality products and services for local consumers with a long-term ‘In China, for China’ commitment, and an ‘In China, for the world’ mission – and won the favour of over a million Chinese customers.
In 2012 we established the joint venture Chery Jaguar Land Rover, and in 2014, formally built our first vehicle manufacturing plant outside the UK in Changshu [pictured in lead image], which set records when it produced five domestic models and 300,000 engines in just three years. It also won the “National Green Factory” award from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology for its sustainable energy management and initiatives.
The Chinese market contributes an important role to global business growth. In the past two years, despite external factors, it still manages to account for more than a quarter of our global sales. We aim to become the creator of the world’s most desirable luxury vehicles and services for the most discerning of customers, and through innovative products and services, have built a full-chain modern luxury journey for Chinese consumers. This includes more than 10 new models, such as the New Range Rover, New Range Rover Sport, and New Land Rover Defender 130. In services, the J.D. Power China Customer Service Index (CSI) ranked Land Rover second for four consecutive years, reflecting consumer recognition of JLR’s high-quality services.
In 2014, JLR China also established the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation Jaguar Land Rover China Children & Youth Dream Fund, the first of its kind in China’s auto industry. The fund promotes Sino-British cultural exchange and CSR with a total investment of nearly 100 million RMB, benefiting more than 600,000 young people.
What are your thoughts and reflections on the Chinese market today?
We remain confident in the long-term growth of the Chinese economy and the luxury car market. We’ll continue our focus on building the most desirable experience for the most discerning customers, and accomplish this by taking advantage of our innovative strengths in local R&D, purchasing, manufacturing and more to drive global development through the Chinese market as the business growth engine.
How has CBBC supported you or British businesses during your time in China?
CBBC has served as a bridge in the healthy development of UK-China economic and trade relations and the growth of British companies in China, providing JLR and other British companies with more comprehensive local market opportunities. CBBC also promotes in-depth exchange between the UK and China in business, trade, and culture. In recent years, we’ve used our brand DNA and British charm to contribute to Sino-British cultural exchanges while practising our corporate social responsibility through cultural and sports programmes.
What are your ambitions and plans for the future in China?
The Chinese market is a critical driver of global economic growth, offering tremendous development opportunities for British companies. Over the past few years, JLR’s global board has expressed interest in visiting China and experiencing the vitality of the world’s most dynamic market.
In JLR’s global business layout, the Chinese market aims to be at the forefront of the world and times, focusing on industry trends and local consumer demand, and leveraging its local innovation advantages in R&D, procurement, manufacturing, and more. The aim is to consistently deliver a full-chain modern luxury journey for domestic consumers and contribute to global strategic development goals.
What do you think China will look like in another 50 years?
For the past 50 years, ambassador-level diplomatic relations have forged ties that endure over time, building a “community of common destiny” and a foundation for JLR and other British companies to further develop in China. As a participant and beneficiary of UK-China economic and trade cooperation, we’ve witnessed China’s continued openness and resilience. The Chinese market is an important core of JLR’s global growth.
In the future, we will continue enhancing our competitiveness and attractiveness in China and achieve higher-quality corporate development while growing with the local market. The next 50 years will ring in a brand new chapter.
With the disruption of 2022 now behind us, the China-Britain Business Council is excited to share the newly confirmed dates for our celebration of 50 years of UK-China Ambassadorial Relations dinner receptions in Beijing and Shanghai.
The Beijing dinner reception will be held on Tuesday 21 March 2023 at the Intercontinental Sanlitun and will be attended by senior officials from China’s central government, ministries, and regulators along with municipal and provincial leaders. Learn more about the dinner in Beijing here.
The Shanghai dinner reception will be held on Tuesday 28 March 2023 at Intercontinental Jing’an and will be attended by senior representatives from municipal and adjacent provincial government organisations.
The dinner receptions are an ideal opportunity for our members to engage with CBBC’s network of senior contacts in both the Chinese and UK Governments as well as key local enterprises.