Driving Large Scale Electrification of China’s Automotive Industry

Gao Feng Insights, May 2017

China’s automotive industry is entering a period where discontinuities and disruptions are likely to reshape the competitive landscape – and this represents an opportune time to guide the development in alignment with China’s overall industrial development goals.  With the issuance in April 2017 of the Automotive Industry Mid to Long Term Development Plan, the Ministry for Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) provides “guiding principles” for the development of China’s auto industry for the next decade.

Leveraging new energy and connected vehicle technology as entry points for accelerating auto industry development and transformation, the policy’s objective is to transform China from the largest auto market to a global leading automotive production base.  Specifically, the guideline sets a goal for Chinese new energy vehicle[1] (NEV) companies to be among the Top 10 NEV companies worldwide by 2020, and to further expand their global impact and market share by 2025.  A target has been set for the domestic NEV sales to reach 2 million units by 2020, and 7 million units by 2025 (20% of total vehicle sales).

Chinese automakers have struggled to reach a global leadership position in the automotive industry due to their relatively short history and lack of technical experience in advanced automotive technologies centered on the internal combustion engine.  The NEV market opens a window for China to potentially level the playing field and assume a more competitive position versus the global industry, as multi-national players have not yet established a sustainable market leadership position.

[1] New Energy Vehicles include Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV)

Rising Opportunities in China’s Automotive Independent Aftermarket

Gao Feng Insights, May 2017

China’s automotive industry has entered a new phase where new car sales growth decelerates, while the car population expands and the average car age increases.  This brings enormous opportunities for expansion of the independent aftermarket.

In this paper, we examine the complexity of China’s independent aftermarket including the distribution channel and service shops.  We also examine the key success factors, market dynamics and emerging marketing channels in the independent aftermarket.  We will highlight the implications of these developments for key players along the value chain.

Bill Russo Speaks at 22nd CLSA China Forum

Tianjin, China, May 15, 2017

Title: China’s Auto Industry in the Age of Disruption  – The Birth of the “Automobility” Business Model


For global automakers and their suppliers, China represents the greatest opportunity for growth in the 21st century.  Since 2009, China has been the world’s largest market by volume, and surpassed 28 million units in annual car sales in 2016.  Over the coming decades, we believe that China will remain the key battleground for dominance of the global auto industry.  However, this battle will not be waged using the conventional automotive technologies which have been refined over the past century.  We believe several driving forces, which are particularly evident China, have the potential to disrupt the status quo of the automotive industry:

Bill Russo, managing director of Gao Feng Advisory Company, presents on Day 1 of the 22nd CLSA China Forum at The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin on Monday 15 May.
  • The unique context of China’s urban transportation challenge, the high penetrationrate of mobile internet, combined with the rapid and aggressive introduction of alternative mobility and ownership concepts, are compressing the time needed to commercialize smart, connected car technology and related services.
  • The automotive value chain is being disruptedby non-traditional players as they enter and compete to deliver mobility solutions.  Disruptive new entrants are utilizing big data to draw insights about customers’ mobility patterns in order to address their “pain points” and offer new solutions for their mobility needs.  Such mobility needs are increasingly being met through on-demand and shared services versus individual ownership.

It is the confluence of these forces, along with rapid innovation to address “pain points” associated with mobility in the China context, are positioning China as the catalyst to drive the transformation of the business model and technological underpinnings of the global auto industry.  In this course, we highlight the major disruptions that lie in the path to success in China’s automotive industry, including:

  1. The rapid rise of on-demand mobility and the digital mobility ecosystem
  2. The link between hardware innovation and the economics of the digital ecosystem
  3. The explosive growth of aftermarket services and the emergence of the Independent Aftermarket (IAM) and online-to-offline (O2O) channel