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Continental plans more big investment in China

By Li Fusheng | | Updated: 2017-04-27 14:33

Continental plans more big investment in China

Elmar Degenhart, chairman of Continental's executive board, gives a speech at the Shanghai auto show. [Photo provided to]

Automotive supplier Continental AG is to continue its heavy investment in China to seize new opportunities emerging in the world's largest auto market, according to its senior executives.

Elmar Degenhart, chairman of Continental's executive board, said the group invested 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion) in the past five years in China and plans to invest a similar amount in the next five years.

Degenhart made the remarks at a news briefing during the Shanghai auto show that will run to April 28.

"We are growing fast with all of our five divisions, so we are taking care that none of our business are falling behind when it comes to localization," said Degenhart.

Since starting its business in China in 1994, Continental has built 27 production facilities for its business units of chassis and safety, interior, powertrain, tire, and contitech as well as 17 research and development centers in the country.

Ralf Cramer, president and CEO of Continental China, said among other projects, the company is building a new research and development center in Chongqing and is to start manufacturing of a 48-volt mild hybrid solution later this year at its expanded Tianjin plant.

Cramer said the solution, which helps to cut cars' gasoline use, has great potential in the country as many automakers are technologically unlikely to meet the China's requirements that by 2020 new cars' fuel consumption should not exceed 5 liters per 100 kilometers.

A highly integrated high-voltage drivetrain, tailor-made for Chinese requirements, is also scheduled for manufacturing in China.

"Continental is a technological leader in the field of electric mobility", said Rudolf Stark, a senior executive at the company's powertrain division.

"We are already in large-scale production with high-voltage and 48 volt mild hybrid drivetrain technology. To us electrification is the path into the future of clean mobility."

Continental has joined hands with telecom operator China Unicom to build a 50:50 joint venture in Shanghai.

The move is designed to establish a world-class intelligent transport system solution provider to satisfy the increasing market demands in China.

The joint venture will focus on vehicle data services and applications, intelligent vehicle applications as well as connected vehicle software and hardware integration solutions, said a Continental news release.

"Their (China Unicom's) strong automotive experience as well as their very well established access to high-potential service market are a perfect strategic fit for us," said Helmut Matschi, head of Continental's interior division.

"Continental is committed to providing mobility solutions and services to people and goods, and we see China as the market primed for services.

"We also fully believe that China will continue to be a strong market for nobility services. With this new joint venture, we will accelerate the development of connected vehicles and make the future mobility start earlier with us," said Matschi.

Jiang Zhengxin, senior vice-president of China Unicom, said: "With the international strength of our partner Continental, we are enhancing our global connected service capability for connected vehicles.

"Continental is a leading automotive supplier with abundant experience in automotive electronics development and manufacturing.

"Thus, we firmly believe we will deliver world class intelligent transportation products and systems."

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