Published: 10:30, April 9, 2024
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NEV makers encouraged to speed up overseas development
By Ma Si
Visitors look at an electric MG Cyberster during the 45th Bangkok International Motor Show in Bangkok, Thailand on March 27, 2024. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

China will step up efforts to encourage its new energy vehicle companies to accelerate their overseas development, said an official at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, warning that the restrictive measures imposed by a "certain country and region" on Chinese electric vehicles will only undermine the interests of global consumers.

The official made the remarks during an exclusive interview with China Daily after the United States announced that it would investigate Chinese-made electric cars. Last month, the European Commission started customs registration of Chinese EV imports as part of its broad probe into whether Chinese EV companies are receiving unfair subsidies.

These measures against Chinese EVs were implemented without sufficient evidence. Such practices are not only in contravention of World Trade Organization rules, they also disrupt the global automotive supply chain, the official said.

"The automotive sector is a typical globalized industry, and its healthy development cannot be separated from the division of labor and cooperation in the global industrial chain," the official said.

According to the ministry, China has in recent years cultivated the largest consumer base for new energy vehicles. "China has also supplied the international community with cost-effective, diverse and reliable NEV raw materials and components, injecting strong impetus into the development of the global NEV industry," the official said.

China has been the world's largest NEV market for nine consecutive years. Data from the Ministry of Public Security shows that by 2023, the number of NEVs in use in the country reached 20.41 million, accounting for about 6 percent of all cars in use. This has offered both Chinese and foreign automobile companies abundant business opportunities, experts said.

Tao Lin, vice-president of Tesla, said the US electric vehicle maker's rapid growth in China over the past decade cannot be separated from the country's policy support and favorable business environment.

With unmatched advantages and vast prospects compared with other global markets, China is a "must-have" market for the US company, she added.

In sharp contrast to China's openness toward foreign EV companies, some countries and regions have adopted a hostile attitude toward Chinese NEV makers, accusing them of relying on unfair subsidies without verifiable evidence, experts said.

Wei Jianguo, former vice-minister of commerce, said that such accusations are groundless. The rapid development of Chinese EV companies is built on continuous technological innovation, a well-established supply chain and market competition, he added.

Ding Yuqian, head of China Autos Research at HSBC Qianhai Securities Ltd, said that China has the world's most competitive EV battery supply chain.

Noting that the most expensive single element of an EV is its battery, she said that carmakers in China have access to high-quality batteries produced at a relative cost advantage, with manufacturers continuously improving the technology.

The official from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said the ministry will strengthen high-level, open cooperation in the NEV sector with other countries to ensure China's technological innovation benefits people worldwide.

The ministry will enhance policy guidance and support for enterprises to accelerate their overseas development tailored to local conditions, and help optimize the international logistics system to strengthen services such as railway and maritime transportation, the official said.

It will also ratchet up efforts to align domestic and foreign standards and regulations in NEVs, and promote the establishment of mutually recognized carbon emission and footprint accounting rules to create a more favorable business environment for all NEV makers, the official added.