Great interest for Chinese automotive industry

7 May 2014

Almost 200 people wanted to hear about the future and challenges of the Chinese automotive industry when BI Norwegian Business School MBA Fudan arranged an event about this.

– The part of Chinese industry that are not part of the joint ventures car factories are facing great challenges when it comes to quality and innovation. But they have come a very long way in ten years, said Bent Wessel- Aas, Senior Vice President in Kongsberg Automotive, Drive Control Systems in Asia.

He was one of the speakers at the BI-Fudan MBA event: A closer Look at Chinese Automotive Industry; Leadership, Productivity and Design in the World`s largest auto market.

Needs to speed up Innovation

– Chinas automotive industry has doubled over the 10-15 past years, and become professionalized. But they still have a long way to go on innovation and creativity. Some parts of the industry are still caught in a copycat culture. They need to focus on innovation, said Bent Wessel- Aas. 

He thinks it is of great importance that BI-Fudan creates events like this in order to discuss and learn about this industry in a cross-cultural perspective. 

A talented workforce

Bet Wessel-Aas said he meets a lot of technical talent in the automotive industry in China.

– I am very optimistic about the future. But in order to compete in the world market, you need to create some new products in the automotive industry, he said.

He emphasized that there is a great need for new products and creative business ideas in the Chinese automotive marked. China produces over 20 million cars a year and it is estimated that this will increase with ten millions over the next ten years. China also faces environmental challenges that are linked to transport and traffic, he said.

Reduction of companies

The biggest car manufacturers in China are joint ventures with western and Chinese owners.

– We must keep in mind that the development in this industry in China has been very rapid. Both the US and Europe have spent more than a hundred years in order to achieve todays standard of car manufacturing.

Wants top quality

Bent Wessel- Aas is certain that the quality of pure Chinese cars will increase.

– The Chinese marked will require that the quality of Chinese cars are just as good as the ones from the Joint Venture companies, he said.

He also believes we will experience a reduction and consolidation of automotive manufacturers in the coming years, he said.

Pioner industry

– The automotive industry is in many ways a pioneer industry for China`s industrial future, because it is so big and international. A lot of our students at the BI-Fudan MBA are working in this industry. Teaching leadership to people in this industry can contribute to both innovation and creativity, said Jan Kjetil Arnulf, Associate Dean BI-Fudan MBA.

He believes there exists a cross national business culture in the automotive industry, and that this culture is increasingly established in China.

– China will be a world leading manufacturer of cars in the future. The interest for and the attendance at tonight`s event, illustrates that it is of great importance to focus on development in this industry, he said.

Cultural challenges

Leadership and cultural challenges in Joint Ventures were also important themes at the event.

– The management and middle management in the Chinese automotive industry must adapt to the international market and the international leadership culture in order to compete, said Yan Fang Min, General Manager at Dongfeng Electronics Technology.

He believes the development in this industry also will be strongly influenced by the fact that some Chinese automotive industry will move out of China.

Out of the box

Rachel Xiao, Talent and competence Management Director at Volvo China focused on how diversity and respect were core issues in sustainable leadership in the automotive industry.

– Leaders must make their employees secure enough to think out the box and get out of their comfort zone. I believe this will increase both the innovation and productivity in this industry, she said.

The new slogan of the BI-Fudan MBA is BEST OF BOTH. This event truly showed the importance and power of this.

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