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Changan auto exec envisions global market


Changan Automobile is accelerating its steps to go global as the Chongqing-based automaker sees overseas markets a "major engine" of its growth in the following years.

The company will first expand its sales in emerging countries such as Russia and Azerbaijan and then eventually enter the European and the US markets, said Zhu Huarong, vice-president of the automaker.

Zhu also hopes the government will make it easier for those who work at State-owned companies like Changan to deal with overseas business.

According to government regulations, those who bear passports of public affairs must submit applications before they going aboard.

The requirement is meant for government officials but also applies to those who work at State-owned companies, said Zhu.

He said he was invited to make a bid in Syria but failed to go because the bidding was finished when his application was approved.

"It has become a headache for senior managers in charge of overseas business," he said.

At home, Changan was the only Chinese company to make the top 10 list of popular auto brands in the first half of 2014.

It sold more than 392,000 passenger vehicles in the first six months, a 43.4 percent rise from the same period last year.

"That means some 7,000 people choose our Changan vehicles every single day. And what makes me particularly proud is that some 30 percent of them used to own a vehicle made by (Sino-foreign) joint ventures," said Zhu.

But he added there is a long way to go before he would deem Changan a successful company.

"Statistics show each joint venture model sold 65,000 units on average in 2013 but for each Chinese model it was 25,000 units."

As a result, he said Changan is spending 5 percent of its sales revenue each year on R&D and another 3 to 5 percent to build its brand.

Among the improvements is a leading edge in-car Internet system and automatic parking technology that will be available in 2015.

He added that one of Changan's best-selling models, the self-developed Benni, will be produced at the automaker's joint venture plant due to its quality and popularity.

He called for various levels of governments to purchase more vehicles from Chinese brands including Changan as their combined market share fell to a new low of 36.23 percent in June.

"Without effective measures, half of the Chinese brands might disappear in five years amid the fierce competition with foreign brands," said Zhu.



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