5. Car maker
Mission: Make China the world leader in electric cars
China has set a big goal for its car industry: by 2020, it wants to be a global leader in electric vehicle technology and have five million hybrid and electric cars on its roads.
Chery, the largest state-backed carmaker, is now seeking to reposition itself from a successful producer of low-cost minis to China’s electric car king. Progress has come swiftly for the company, which only started making cars 14 years ago. Chery’s first battery-powered vehicle, the Riich M1-EV, hit the market in November, with a reported top speed of 120 km/h and a single-charge driving range of 150km. The company recently completed a €365m R&D centre in Wuhu, its headquarters, which it envisions being an electric vehicle technology hub.
Since Chery is a state-owned enterprise, none of this would be possible without substantial financial support from the government. As part of its next five-year economic plan, Beijing has pledged €12.4bn to support research into electric cars, build charging stations and provide subsidies of up to €6,700 to electric car buyers.
“The government hoped to see the Chinese auto industry catch up in combustion engine models, but it’s fallen way behind,” says Boni Sa, an analyst with IHS Automotive in Shanghai. “So they don’t want to fall too far behind with electric vehicles.”
Chances of success:
So long as government investment stays strong, Chery has a chance.