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BlackBerry QNX bullish on the Chinese market

By Wang Ying in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2018-12-05 11:17
A self-driving vehicle is seen at the BlackBerry QNX headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. [Photo/Agencies]

China has the potential to become the largest market for connected vehicles and electric cars, and once autonomous driving becomes a reality, the nation will take the lead thanks to its foresighted infrastructure investment and preparations, according to a senior BlackBerry QNX executive.

"Based on the dynamic of the investments and the push by the Chinese government, I think China has great potential to become the largest connected and electric vehicles market," said Kaivan Karimi, senior vice-president of sales and marketing for BlackBerry Technology Solutions.

China's advanced driver assistance system market will exceed $30 billion by 2020, with a compound annual growth rate of above 40 percent, according to a report from Shenzhen-based Qianzhan Industry Research Institute.

A McKinsey report forecast China will become the world's largest market for autonomous cars, adding that the revenue from sales of such cars and mobility services will exceed $500 billion by 2030.

"China will be the number one country to implement the infrastructure that is needed for autonomous cars, that I have no doubt of," said Karimi, adding that his belief is based on the Chinese government's high efficiency and great support in this area.

A keynote report published in March by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology noted that China will accelerate the process of building national standards for intelligent connected vehicles.

"Every other part of the world is moving so slowly (in this area). I believe the infrastructure will be in place in China faster than anywhere else, and autonomous and electric vehicles will follow the same path. I also believe China is ahead of the game right now, ahead of everybody else, with the amount of investments they are putting in, as well as the cars that are produced now," he said.

A total of $7 billion in venture funding has been pooled for Chinese autonomous driving technology companies between 2012 and 2017, roughly equivalent to the total investment in US self-driving vehicle startups in the same period.

"When autonomous driving takes off, I believe China will be the leader, just by the fact that you will have the infrastructure in place, which means you will be producing and actually putting cars on the road versus everybody else, who will still be trying because the infrastructure is not in place," said Karimi.

"It's not the question of demand ... It's the question of production expertise," Karimi added.

According to Karimi, the majority of the world's manufacturing supply chain right now is in China. From a growth rate perspective, it is the fastest-growing market in the world.

For the future of automotives, China is investing the most amount of money into electric vehicles, so that makes it one of the most important markets for BlackBerry QNX for the future, he said.

Today the Chinese market accounts for less than 10 percent of BlackBerry QNX's business. However, the dynamic of the yet-to-be consolidated Chinese market suggests it has the potential to be one of the Canadian company's biggest markets in the future.

BlackBerry QNX said it hopes to double the size of its Chinese team in 2019, as the company looks to establish an ecosystem to support the automotive industry in the future.

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