China issues work plan for car industry standard-setting to boost innovation, maintain global competitiveness
Published: Jun 21, 2024 11:00 PM
Workers complete assembling an electric vehicle (EV) at China's EV start-up Leapmotor in Jinhua, East China's Zhejiang Province on April 1, 2024. Photo: VCG

Workers complete assembling an electric vehicle (EV) at China's EV start-up Leapmotor in Jinhua, East China's Zhejiang Province on April 1, 2024. Photo: VCG

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) on Friday issued a work plan for car industry standard-setting as part of efforts to boost innovation in the industry, especially new-energy vehicles (NEVs) and smart cars, where China has gained a global competitive edge.

Coming as the West steps up its crackdown on Chinese electric vehicles (EVs), the plan, along with a slew of recent measures, will help accelerate technological advances in the industry and further bolster the Chinese car industry's competitiveness, experts said.

A total of 19 detailed key points across five major sectors are listed in the work plan, covering the strengthening of the standards system, focusing on emerging technology fields, consolidating quality and safety, enhancing international cooperation and compatibility, and work mechanism optimization.

The plan prioritizes the optimization of the automotive standards system following technology development trends and actual industry demands. Standard-setting in some key fields will be pushed forward, and standard-setting work will be deployed in advance for certain cutting-edge sectors. 

The plan emphasized the continuous optimization of standards for NEVs, such as for finished EVs, power battery safety, remote service and management, to further ensure the security of EV operations. 

More efforts should be made in the research of standards for intelligence-connected vehicles to be enhanced, read the plan. Technologies such as information security, software upgrade and autopilot logs among others should be in accordance with national standards, said the plan. It also calls for the strengthening of the supply of automotive chip standards, solidification of standards of electronic systems and deployment of standards for automotive carbon emission. 

The plan also vows to enhance automotive operation safety by upgrading relevant standards, and will enhance the compatibility of standards in domestic and international automotive industries, as well as training for talent. 

By the end of 2023, China surpassed Japan to become the world's largest exporter of all types of vehicles. Analysts suggested that the strong growth momentum of China's automotive industry requires the country to also have abundant technology and standard reserves while exporting cars. 

The European Commission has decided to impose additional tariffs on Chinese EVs using the excuse of an "anti-subsidy investigation," said Zhang Xiang, director of the Digital Automotive International Cooperation Research Center of the World Digital Economy Forum, noting that China's EV industry should create a complete and internationalized standard system to counter Western countries' politically-motivated moves.

"Setting industrial standards requires high-level technology and long-term experience accumulation. Therefore, the MIIT's plan on setting standards can fundamentally improve the competitiveness of China's EVs to better cope with sanctions," Zhang said.

Sanctions from Western countries will not shake the international market position held by China's EVs, as China's policy measures are based on technological innovation and promotion of market consumption, Wu Shuocheng, a veteran automobile industry analyst, told the Global Times on Friday.

These remarks came as the MIIT on Wednesday unveiled revised guidelines for the lithium-ion battery industry to further strengthen standardized management and promote the high-quality development of the sector, reflecting China's determination to continue scaling up the technological ladder, retain its leadership in core technologies and protect its environment to ensure sustainable development.

In terms of boosting consumption, China's Ministry of Finance allocated 6.44 billion yuan ($890 million) to local governments to promote vehicle renewals and trade-ins in 2024, according to a report by Xinhua News Agency on June 8.

In addition, on May 15, five ministries including the MIIT initiated the annual NEV promotional campaign in China's rural areas.