Written by Zhao Yali / Translated by Chen Zhiying
At present, with the proposal of initiatives such as “green environmental protection” and “low-carbon travel”, new energy vehicles are becoming more and more popular. ASEAN countries have introduced a series of measures to develop new energy vehicles, while China has rich experience in such fields, with quality and standards having been highly recognized by the market, providing advantages for Chinese auto enterprises to tap into the ASEAN market.
The China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) has provided a platform for China’s new energy vehicles to enter ASEAN countries. Now, with the entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement (RCEP), the CAEXPO will be upgraded and expanded from serving 10 ASEAN countries and China to serving RCEP Member States. In this case, the CAEXPO is expected to provide broader development spaces for China’s new energy vehicles to “go global” and move from ASEAN to the world.
Only with demand can enterprises enter ASEAN markets
In recent years, changes have taken place in the automobile consumption of ASEAN countries: environmentally friendly, low-cost, and green energy-saving vehicles continues to grow in popularity. They are becoming the second-best-selling vehicles in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, the main automobile consumption countries of ASEAN. This also brings new opportunities for China-ASEAN cooperation.
It is worth noting that EVs in ASEAN countries are in their infancy and have great market potential. At present, ASEAN countries are accelerating the development of the industry. Thailand and Indonesia have put forward a timetable for banning the sale of fossil fuel vehicles and launched a series of supporting policies and measures for the development of EVs.
According to Huang Yonghe, a senior expert of China Automotive Technology & Research Center, as a country with the largest sales of EVs in ASEAN, the Thai government hopes to attract more foreign investment in the industry and build Thailand into an EV center of ASEAN, and plans to sell only EVs in the market by 2035. The Indonesian government has issued preferential financial and tax policies for EVs and made it clear that all vehicles sold EVs by 2050.
China coincides with ASEAN countries in the development of new energy vehicles. Since China put forward the goal of developing new energy vehicles in 2012, it has successively introduced a series of policies and measures, such as financial subsidies, right-of-way priority, and opening license plate application channels for EVs.
Aiming at the development prospect of new energy vehicles, Chinese auto enterprises have made layout and carried out a number of cooperation in ASEAN countries. In 2019, SAIC’s Thai sales company and large Thai energy companies started cooperation on construction of EV charging networks and accelerated the development of charging facilities in Thailand. In June 2021, Great Wall Motors’ plants in Thailand were officially put into operation and the first Harvard H6 HEV (hybrid electric vehicle) was sold offline. In September 2021, Neta Auto released the Neta V, a right-hand drive version for the overseas market and officially announced that it would go to Thailand, entering the new energy vehicle market of ASEAN countries. It is not only the first vehicle manufacturing company to export right-hand drive cars but also will carry out charging businesses simultaneously to meet the needs of ASEAN users in all scenes.
Only with platforms can enterprises open the market
Over the years, China and ASEAN have carried out all-round cooperation and exchanges and promote regional development under the CAEXPO. It is an important window for good Chinese enterprises to enter ASEAN and go global. With the CAEXPO, China’s new energy vehicle enterprises display cars of various kinds and become a highlight in the CAEXPO.
At the 16th CAEXPO, many EVs were orderly arranged to display. Among them, Guigang City of Guangxi exhibited 46 types of new energy vehicles and electric vehicles, including 6 SUV and coupes, 4 logistics vehicles, 1 bus, school bus and sightseeing bus respectively, 5 new energy tricycles, and 28 new energy two-wheeled vehicles.
SAIC GM Wuling firstly participated in the 18th CAEXPO in the form of “head company + direct sale stores” and brought to the public the Hongguang Mini EV, a small-sized new energy vehicle popular among people and Kiwi EV which features the sense of future. The auto company hoped to further publicize its new energy vehicle models to ASEAN countries and all sectors of society through the CAEXPO.
In addition, Neta Auto made its presence at the 18th CAEXPO with three vehicle models, namely Neta U Pro, Neta S, and Neta V, under the theme of “Develop Smart New Energy for A New Future Featuring Low-carbon Emission”. Jiang Feng, Assistant of Neta CEO and Head of the marketing company of Neta, said, “At present, ASEAN has strong demand for auto products. Great potential exists in auto export trade. With the 18th CAEXPO, we can step forward into the ASEAN market.”
In addition to setting up exhibitions at the CAEXPO, holding forums have also become an important form to promote China-ASEAN cooperation in new energy vehicles. Under the framework of the 18th CAEXPO, the China-ASEAN (Guigang) New Energy Electric Vehicle Industry Innovation and Development Summit was held for the first time. Authorities, experts, scholars and entrepreneurs from the sector gathered to share the cutting-edge technology as well as domestic and foreign innovative practices. They brought the most advanced concepts to accelerate the development of new energy vehicle industry in China-ASEAN region and contribute to the growth of the production base.
Only with new opportunities can enterprises welcome new development
One cannot deny the achievements made in China’s new energy vehicles, but there is still a certain gap with the international advanced level in some cutting-edge technologies. The new energy vehicle technology of Japan and other developed countries in RCEP region deserves attention. With the increasing popularity of new energy vehicles and the gradual expansion of the market, as a new energy vehicle enterprise, it is necessary to constantly update and fix the existing problems of new energy vehicles, such as too short mileage and uneven distribution of charging station resources, which leaves a broad space for further cooperation in the regional market.
In addition, in terms of the current situation, the most noteworthy is the entry into force of RCEP, which makes the CAEXPO expand from serving 10 ASEAN countries and China to serving RCEP Member States to achieve quality improvement and upgradation. The 19th CAEXPO will focus on better serving RCEP, expanding the scope of investment promotion to RCEP, and actively exploring new channels to invite enterprises from RCEP Member States. All these will bring unprecedented new opportunities for China-ASEAN cooperation in new energy vehicles. “To seize opportunities brought by RCEP’s entry into force, we need to make full use of tax and preferential policies, understand ASEAN markets, and launch differentiated advantageous products. New energy vehicles are one of the keys,” said Huang Yonghe.
From exchanging views in technology, and researching and analyzing markets, to exhibiting products and carrying out marketing, all these show that with the entry into force of RCEP, a CAEXPO expanding the service scope to RCEP will provide the region with a new stage for cooperation in new energy vehicles.