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Foreign firms in Guangdong sharpen their competitive edge

By LI WENFANG in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-23 09:25
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A view of the booth of Bosch during an expo in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. CHINA DAILY

A number of foreign-invested companies in Guangdong province are whetting their competitiveness to better serve the growing and increasingly demanding market.

For the Shenzhen plant of Germany's Bosch, manufacturing upgrade has been the focus over the past few years. This includes better automation of production lines, interconnection of work stations, forecast of production based on big data and optimized interaction between workers and equipment.

The plant, which produces automobile wiper arms and wiper blades, generated a three-fold growth in sales in the past three years, with China becoming the top automobile manufacturing country last year, said Zhou Fang, director for commercial responsibility at the unit.

The growth in the Chinese market has outpaced that of the export market, Zhou added.

The plant has benefited from a rich supply of materials, components and human resources, and innovation in Guangdong province for its rapid business development, she said.

China is a target market for Finnish lighting products maker Ledil Optics Technology (Shenzhen) Co and a greater number of products focused on China have been developed by the local team, said its general manager Petri Mikkola.

For Ledil, China's strength is its efficient development platform and the company is able to support local customers with its strong R&D team. "Our target is to be closer to customers and recognize local needs more effectively," he said.

There is significant demand in China, which is different from other locations, with different architectural lighting, city structures and sizes.

China is also the main manufacturing location for the group, thanks to the rich resources available to tackle newly developed products, Mikkola said.

The company has been devoted to developing fresh trends in environmentally-friendly lighting, energy saving and less light pollution.

China is also the main market for Italian automobile brake system producer Util (Guangzhou) Auto Parts Co.

The company invested an additional 15 million yuan ($2.07 million) earlier this year for a new fine blanking press.

The investment helped the company generate the best net profit ever in the first quarter this year, said Massimo Trionte, CEO of Util China.

"We decided to invest because we want to stay in China. We think there is a lot of opportunity in China. The market is huge.

"We have a lot of suppliers here and we call them partners. We develop together because we know what the final customers want.

"We have to upgrade their technology. Otherwise, we cannot compete with the local (firms)."

Chinese manufacturers have shifted their focus from quantity to quality, safety and environmental considerations in the past decade, he observed.

Miao Peiyun, chief operating officer of Andritz (Foshan) Intelligent Manufacturing, attributes the Austrian company's continuous growth to its strong team, significant spending on R&D and a resilient supply chain.

The company produces equipment for the hydropower, pulp and paper, metals and separation industries.

As part of its efforts to practice smart manufacturing, the company in 2022 started to promote digitalized modules to its suppliers, which are mostly small and medium-sized enterprises.

The second phase of the unit being built in Foshan is designed to be more digital and environmentally friendly, with costs expected to be cut by 10 to 20 percent, thanks to more robots being installed, Miao said.

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