China and Germany have strong foundations for cooperation: Volkswagen CEO
Published: Jan 31, 2023 01:56 AM
Volkswagen Photo: CFP

Photo: VCG

Volkswagen Group CEO Oliver Blume arrived in Beijing on Monday to start his week-long visit to China. He spoke highly of China-Germany relations, saying that the two countries have strong foundations for cooperation.

The 54-year-old senior executive is planning to visit four Chinese cities that are home to Volkswagen's major production bases and cooperative partners. The four cities are Shanghai, Beijing, Hefei and Changchun.

He disclosed that his major job in the coming few days will be communicating with Chinese consumers, business partners and employees, so as to better understand the development trend of China's frontier technologies, and the changes in Chinese people's expectations. He also aims to seek new potential cooperative partners.

Blume is one of a series of senior executives from German car giants that have planned a China visit shortly after the country's economic reopening. The Global Times also learned from sources that Jaguar Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz Group's senior executives have plans to visit China soon.

Last November, Blume joined a high-ranking German delegation led by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on a trip to China.

According to Blume, Scholz's visit to China was very important because it let both sides understand their ideas and opportunities.

He said that China and Germany have a strong basis for cooperation, and the two sides will continue the win-win cooperative relationship. He also revealed to the Global Times that the German government is having discussions on relevant documents in terms of their new strategy toward China.

Volkswagen supports fair global trade development, and has a clear strategy to conduct investment and cooperation in China regarding both products and technologies, he said.

China's automobile market, especially the new-energy vehicle (NEV) market developed fast last year in spite of the coronavirus. Data revealed by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology showed that NEV cars sold by domestic brands accounted for 79.9 percent of China's overall NEV market in 2022, which shows the fierce competition faced by overseas brands like VW.

Blume nevertheless has an open mind toward such competition, saying he is excited to see that the Chinese market is so active and that it plays a role of fueling world innovation. He said that China has around 50 testing grounds for autonomous cars, which he thinks have great potential for development in the country.

Blume also expressed optimism for the prospects of the Chinese market in 2023, saying that there will be positive growth. In particular, the market might see a strong rebound in the second half, he predicted.