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Intelligent sensor tech firm to boost overseas presence

By FAN FEIFEI | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-18 09:06

Guangzhou Asensing Technology Co Ltd. [Photo/Guangzhou Asensing Technology website]

Guangzhou Asensing Technology Co Ltd, a company that specializes in high-precision positioning technology for autonomous vehicles, is ramping up efforts to expand its presence in overseas markets, including Europe, the United States and Japan, and bolster the intelligent driving industry, a senior company executive said.

Germany, which is home to a large number of world-renowned carmakers, is an important market in Asensing's overseas business roadmap, said Pia Hu, executive president and chief products officer, adding that the company also plans to hike its footprint in other European nations such as France and Italy.

Asensing is committed to developing cutting-edge sensor products for the automotive industry to improve efficiency and the safety of drivers and passengers, Hu said.

The Guangzhou-headquartered company, which was founded in 2014, has inked partnerships with more than 30 vehicle makers, such as Geely Auto, Changan Auto, SAIC Motor and Chinese EV brands including Nio, Li Auto and Xpeng, to provide self-developed high-precision positioning solutions. It will also provide such technology for multinational automakers such as Volkswagen and Toyota.

"For European clients like Volkswagen, we have a plan to build local production lines in accordance with their requirements. Meanwhile, we may consider establishing production facilities in Mexico if we reach a cooperation agreement with carmakers in the United States," Hu said.

Asensing makes its own chips for high-precision positioning units, she said. "China is at the global forefront of intelligent driving in terms of industrial chain, technological level, industrial applications and user acceptance. Currently, the advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) has become a standard configuration for new vehicles made in China," she added.

According to her, the number of vehicle models and brands with ADAS functionalities in the Chinese market has surpassed that from European countries and the US, while Chinese consumers regard the autonomous driving function as a key factor when they buy cars.

China has introduced a series of policies to promote the development and commercialization of self-driving technology in recent years. According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the country supports the commercial application of Level 3 and above autonomous driving systems. Level 3, or L3, means conditional automation, which allows a vehicle to drive by itself without human override under certain conditions.

Hu said LiDAR, which uses laser light to measure distances and map surroundings, high-precision positioning systems and other sensors will be essential parts of intelligent automobiles.

She said that China's auto parts suppliers, represented by smart sensor producers, are gradually taking the lead in the global auto industry, and Chinese suppliers will spearhead the transformation of the automotive industrial chain.

"For international mainstream automobile manufacturers, China is becoming an important market for the procurement of intelligent automotive parts," she said. As Chinese auto brands have accelerated steps to expand in overseas markets, the export of auto parts has also increased.

At present, expenses for research and development take up about 60 percent share of the company's total revenue.

Hu said Asensing will continue to focus on R&D in the domestic market and deliver key parts like chips to overseas production bases for assembly, production, testing and verification. The company accounts for more than 60 percent market share in high-precision positioning technology in China's automotive industry.

Liu Chunsheng, an associate professor at the Central University of Finance and Economics' School of International Trade and Economics, said it is a positive trend that Chinese intelligent auto parts companies are speeding up their globalization plan, and that this will be conducive to expanding their market share.

"By establishing production bases and procurement networks across the globe, these companies can make better use of local resources to reduce manufacturing costs and optimize the supply chain structure," Liu said.

Zhang Xiang, visiting professor at the engineering department of Huanghe Science and Technology University, said the manufacturing costs of driverless vehicle components have fallen, as advances have been made in self-driving technologies and related industrial chains have matured.

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