Business / Auto China

Auto exporter aims to take driver's seat in innovation

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-04-25 16:47

BEIJING - China's biggest auto exporter will invest millions of dollars to build a world-class research and development (R&D) center in the next five years, the company's management told Xinhua on Wednesday.

Chery Automobile Co exported 110,000 cars last year, marking its 12th consecutive year as the country's biggest exporter of cars. The automaker, founded in 1997 and headquartered in southern China's Anhui Province, has sold over one million vehicles worldwide since its first car rolled off the assembly line in late 1999.

"If you want to take the driver's seat in the global market, brand and quality are the key," said Yin Tongyue, chairman of Chery.

The company has invested more than 7 percent of its sales revenue each year in R&D over the past decade, with investment reaching 10 percent in some years.

Chery made its first overseas sales to buyers in Syria in 2001 and went on to cooperate with global counterparts to develop and manufacture parts.

"We have established partnerships with Bosch, Bayer and ten other industrial giants to develop engine technology, new materials, interiors and other links along the industrial chain," Yin said.

A landmark step for Chery's global strategy was the opening of its first wholly owned plant outside China in 2014. Chery set up automobile and engine factories in Brazil and invested $22.3 million to build an R&D center in the South American country.

"About 70 percent of our employees are locals and we will expand our presence along the industrial chain to make it a more localized multi-national company," said Peng Jian, general manager of the Brazil branch.

Brazil is the world's fourth-largest automobile market and the sixth-largest auto manufacturer. Major automotive enterprises such as General Motors have built production plants in the country.

The Brazil branch is expected to be a springboard for Chery to expand its presence in the South American market.

The Chinese carmaker has entered markets in Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America, and its products can be found in more than 80 countries and regions. Chery has established 16 overseas manufacturing bases, more than 1,100 dealership branches and 900-plus service stations.

China's commerce ministry said last Thursday that it will release guidelines to offer policy and financial support for global cooperation in sectors such as railways, nuclear power, automobiles, shipbuilding, the chemical industry and metallurgy.

"Going global is not enough for a company to be an international brand. You have to go in and move up the global value chain to impress customers with your quality," said Yin.

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