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Chengdu selected as host for next Michelin Challenge

Updated: 2013-12-16 07:47
By Huang Ying ( China Daily)

Michelin Challenge Bibendum, an international event on sustainable road mobility created and sponsored by French tire maker Michelin Group, will be held in China for the third time next year.

The company recently announced that the 12th session of the event will be held in Chengdu, Sichuan province from Nov 11 to 16.

"In the past months, we checked the venues in various cities in China, and the government of Chengdu showed the highest interest," said Philippe Verneuil, president of Michelin China.

First held in 1998, the event includes road tests of the environmental-related car performance, as well as components and fuels.

It also has sideline activities such as forums and tours relating to sustainable road mobility.

The event aims to promote innovative technologies to make road traffic more fuel-efficient, cleaner, safer and less congested, according to Michelin.

Over the past 15 years, it has been held in cities including Paris, Berlin, Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro. It was held in Shanghai in 2004 and 2007.

The burgeoning auto industry in China and the 50th anniversary of Sino-French diplomatic ties to be celebrated next year are major reasons the tire maker will bring the event again to China.

China surpassed the United States to become the world's largest auto market in 2009.

"Currently the fastest growing market for the auto industry across the world, it has an urgent need to cope with environmental pollution," said Patrick Oliva, corporate vice-president of the French tire manufacturer.

The Michelin Challenge Bibendum offers a venue for participants from different fields interested in the development of road mobility and concerned with related social problems.

Road tests to showcase technological progress and innovation will be still the highlight of next year's event, according to Michelin Group.

The event will have a special agenda to deal with local issues including job creation, the development of western China, urbanization and the increasing pressure from oil imports, according to Michelin.

Participants of the event will include representatives of Michelin's partners - automakers, energy suppliers and university and research institutions, as well as other stakeholders like government institutions and NGOs.

A non-profit event, the Michelin Challenge Bibendum 2014 will increase both in size and complexity. "Our investment for next year's event will reach millions of euros," said Oliva.

With rapid growth of its automotive and transportation industry, China has become one of the most important strategic markets for Michelin Group.

"We're committed to China in the long term and we tend to play a leading role in the industry," said Verneuil.

The tire maker's latest move came last January when it made its largest single investment in China, nearly $1.5 billion, to build its largest plant in the country in Shenyang, capital of Northeast China's Liaoning province.


(China Daily 12/16/2013 page18)