Amid the sweeping changes transforming the automotive industry, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd is exploring the future of mobility at the 2017 Fortune Global Forum in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.
The Guangzhou-based carmaker will host a roundtable on Thursday to discuss current mobility developments and draw up a blueprint for the future. Participants include senior executives from Honda Motor Co, Bosch, internet giant Tencent Holdings Inc, and experts from the automotive industry.
The discussion is being held at a time when digitalization, automation and new business models are transforming the way people and goods move from A to B, with electric cars, autonomous driving and car-sharing as the catalysts.
Experts said the move by GAC Group, as a representative of Guangzhou's manufacturing strength, reflects the city's innovative, pragmatic and international image.
GAC Group said it will seize the opportunities of the new era and drive its business forward with innovation to take China's intelligent manufacturing onto the global stage.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, GAC Group has been one of the first Chinese companies to gear up for the changes in the automotive industry, positioning itself as a value creator of mobility instead of simply a carmaker.
The company said it is giving priority to new energy vehicles and will develop a lineup of electric cars and plug-in hybrids by 2020. The whole-year sales of such models will reach 200,000 vehicles, said its chairman Zeng Qinghong.
It has set up a wholly owned subsidiary dedicated to new energy vehicles and started construction of a 45 billion yuan ($6.8 billion) industrial park that will specialize in research and development, as well as the manufacturing of internet-connected new energy vehicles and their core components.
GAC Group has joined hands with a number of companies to develop internet-connected vehicles, intelligent driving, cloud platforms and big data, including Tencent, telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies and telecom operator China Mobile.
During the annual Guangzhou auto show in November, GAC Group unveiled its iSPACE electric concept car equipped with Tencent's AI in Car system, which allows drivers to better interact with the vehicles.
GAC Group has been one of the most innovative and successful carmakers in China. With annual sales revenue of some 280 billion yuan, it has been on the list of Fortune 500 companies for five years in a row.
It produced and sold about 1.65 million vehicles in the first 10 months of this year, a year-on-year increase of nearly 26 percent, some 20 percentage points higher than the industry's average growth rate.
Its subsidiary, GAC Motor, is growing even faster. As one of the fastest growing carmakers in China, it has seen an annual compound growth rate of 85 percent over the past six consecutive years.
GAC Motor is the first Chinese carmaker that has a full range of C-class models. Its GA8 sedans, GS8 SUVs and GM8 MPVs have been chosen as official cars for the Fortune Forum's participants including government heads, senior business executives and leading economists.
It has consolidated its leading position by retaining its position as the highest-ranking Chinese brand in the JD Power Asia Pacific's 2017 China Initial Quality Study, a title it has retained for the fifth consecutive year.
The company's best-selling innovative SUV model GS4 ranked No 1 in the study's compact SUV category of Chinese brands.
GAC Group has been well received globally for the world-class quality of its large lineup of products.
For three years in a row it has been exhibiting its models at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the United States. GAC Group has been the first Chinese carmaker to appear in the main halls of the show.
Rod Alberts, managing director of the show, extended an invitation to GAC Group to attend the show again in 2018 after learning about its plans at the Guangzhou auto show in November.
GAC Group is planning to further expand its overseas presence. Its subsidiary GAC Motor has built sales and service networks in 14 countries and regions including Kuwait, Chile, Cambodia and Nigeria.
It plans to make inroads into the US no later than 2019, and is already preparing for this in terms of products and dealerships.
Earlier this year, it held recruitment fairs in several cities in the US. It has built an R&D center in Silicon Valley and is planning to establish a design studio in Los Angeles.
It is expected that by 2020 GAC Motor's overseas sales revenue will account for 5 percent to 10 percent of its total sales.
GAC Group said that it will continue its efforts to enhance its brand recognition and influence so as to build itself into a world-class brand.