By Ajith D Perera of Sri Lanka
It has been my pleasure to join the study tour on Guangzhou organized by Asia Pacific Daily. The visit was consisted of many interesting meetings, industrial visits, sight seen and interactions with intellectuals.
The educational visit to Guangzhou CBD was the beginning of the study tour and I had an opportunity to see the Guangdong- Hong Kong and Macao called Greater Bay Area development area on digital screens. The learning was very fruitful since the well conversant speaker of CBD explained the development plan to us while enlightening the knowledge of participants.
As a researcher a visit to Shazai Island in Guangzhou's Nansha district was an eye opener. At present, Nansha Port is China's second largest port for parallel-import automobiles. It is expected to be the China's largest automobile logistics island hub. Guangzhou Port Group started transportation of commercial automobiles in 2004, and has since seen an average annual growth in its handling capacity of more than 33 percent. The statistics reveal that Guangzhou Port Group handled 1.5 million commercial automobiles in 2020, ranking top among all coastal ports in China. According to Guangzhou Daily Commercial automobile handling capacity amounted to 513,000 in the first four months of 2021, increasing by 47.4 percent year-on-year. Of the total, 28,000 were exported, an increase of 133.3 percent year-on-year. After nearly three years of construction the under the new expansion plan, Nansha Port is expected to start trial operations this year. It is expected that Guangzhou Port will then be ranked among the top ports in the world, with its handling capacity of commercial automobiles exceeding two million.
Visiting Guangzhou Automobile Group gave a new learning opportunity about the technology advancement of Chinese automobile industry. China has the largest Automobile industry in the world both in terms of both demand and supply. According to OICA 2021 in year 2021 China produced just over 26 million vehicles of all types with a world market share of 23%. According to market information multi-national brands are no longer favored by a majority of Chinese consumers.
In fact, for the development purpose China has both endurance to withstand the pressure and also ability to change rapidly if needed. The recent technological advancements are not surprising to those who were keeping eye on Chinese automobile industry. However for west automotive industry executives the Shanghai Auto Show (2023) was a surprise. West learned that China has rapidly changed and in a way that is not favorable to the traditional carmakers and suppliers. Bill Russo - a 19-year veteran of doing business in China and automobile expert with an accumulated 36 years of automotive industry experience clearly said China is an accelerator for new technology commercialization. Truly plug – in Hybrid Electric vehicles (PHEV) have emerged as a growth segment for Chinese automobile industry.
During the visit Guangzhou Automobile Group was seen active in producing and researching latest automobiles run by clean energy. In fact many latest models run by clean energy were also on display. Driven by double carbon policy of China It was a clear example by practice and that How serious they are in promoting Green business. After inspecting and comparing with Japanese auto makers my assessment over Chinese automobile industry is in the future it is no excuse for any auto management team to be surprised by what is happening in the world’s largest, most progressive and commercially innovative market place. I recall the quote “If engineering was easy everybody would do it, But it’s not, The biggest challenge has the biggest reward.
Next,the life time experience and the moment of all time came when I reached the XPENG AEROHT an affiliate of XPeng Inc- the largest flying car company in Asia. The much heard but yet unseen “flying magic” –XPENG X2 was just in front of me! This unbelievable and exciting product was on display! The roots of the present XPENG X2 goes back to 2016.having conducted flight tests using prototype in 2016 it made the first manned flight in 2018.then in 2020 the two seater prototype - flying car was tested and in 2021 XPENG X2 two seater flying car completed its first manned flight test. The year oct 2022 was an year of celebration for XPENG AEROHT. It made the first public flight in Dubai and received the special flying permit from Dubai Civil Aviation Authority after completing the specific operations risk assessment.
Two seater XPENG X2 is only 840 Kg by weight and can fly at maximum 130 km/h with an endurance of 25 minutes but certainly it is a game changer for world personal transportation system. Then the question arises as to how this company achieved this incredible milestone during our life time? What made it possible? The XPENG team’s corporate philosophy of leading by innovation, technology, expanding the boundaries of intelligent transportation, hard work, determination, and dedication, and embracing the challenges made impossible possible. For me the most significant achievement of this company is the paradigm shift they created in world personal transportation. Quote “ The world of reality has its limits ;the world of imagination is boundless –Jean –Jacques Rousseau”unquote.
The study tour was also not all about learning Chinese industries.It also had a different connotation and learning about environment, biodiversity and sustainability. Visiting Nansha Bird Park was such marvelous initiative by APD. The uniqueness of Nansha Bird Park is it’s a park for all seasons. The restaurant located in the park provide delicious food for its customers.
The bird park created a regional economic opportunity by providing the platform for the opening ceremony of the 3rd Guangzhou Nansha Southeast Asia Bamboo Arts Festival in 2022 at Nansha Bird Park in Guangzhou. The festival was a communication platform for culture, tourism, economic, and trade among Nansha, ASEAN countries, the African Union and South Pacific island countries. It was very interesting to see that the innovative Bamboo designs of winners were installed as permanent structures at the bird park for visitors to learn the future prospects and scale of economy of the Bamboo industry in respective countries. The Bamboo culture, distinctive products, cultural creativity, and innovative designs would certainly be components of this economy. I invite south Asian countries to join the festival from next year.
The study tour indeed was an exciting and an unimaginable venture in terms of knowledge and exposure on the shape of the future automobile industry, visionary project planning, green business for sustainability, People to people contact, promotion of friendship, respect for cultures, , etc.
(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)