Category Archives: Companies

BYD changes Shenzhen; next, the world

Shenzhen-based electric vehicle maker BYD is perhaps most famously known outside of China for the fact that Warren Buffet is a shareholder. Inside China, the company’s legendary status as a tech pioneer has taken on a new dimension since being named the only Chinese company in the top 10 of Fortune’s Change the World list this year. 

First published in 2015, the business magazine’s annual list spotlights the top 50 companies who address major social problems as a core part of their business strategy and innovation. 

BYD took third position in this year’s list, behind semiconductor giant Qualcomm and payments facilitator Mastercard. It was also the only car manufacturer listed among the 52 companies. Alibaba and Baidu were the only other Chinese companies to make it into the ranking, taking 37th and 39th spots, respectively. 

According to Fortune, BYD was chosen for the impact it has created in the global electric vehicle industry. The carmaker has not only expanded the new energy vehicle market, but also made significant contribution to environmental conservation. In Shenzhen for example, BYD’s 16,000 electric buses and 22,000 electric taxis have brought down the consumption of petrol or diesel oil by 980 million liters per year, while reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 2.22 million tones. 

As the US-based publishing group writes in its assessment of BYD: “BYD began life as a manufacturer of cell phone batteries and didn’t make its first car until 2003. But for three years, it was the world’s largest maker of vehicles that run partly or wholly on electricity (Tesla only recently overtook it).” 

Fortune sees the company’s development of a flexible “E-platform” for EV design and construction as key to its success. “A basic BYD model sells for a mere US$8,500 or so, after subsidies—a key factor in evangelizing EVs more widely,” Fortune writes. “And a recently announced joint venture with Japan’s Toyota should expand BYD’s global footprint.”

BYD has made the prestigious innovation list before, taking 15th position in the launch edition. That was when it was first commended for the fact that its electric buses only required to be charged once for the full day of operation, and their cost of maintenance was lower than diesel buses. This helped improve the city’s air quality and reduce smog. 

The timing could not have been better from a PR perspective, as Fortune’s list was published the day before BYD announced its latest financial results for the six months to June 30. Listed on the Hong Kong and Shenzhen bourses, BYD’s businesses include automobile, handset components and assembly, rechargeable and photovoltaic batteries. In the first six months, revenue rose 14.8% to RMB62.18 billion, while net profit soared 203.6% to RMB1.46 billion. 

In its typically understated style, BYD reported that sales of new models had done well in the first half of the year, generating revenue of RMB33.98 billion, up 16.27% YoY, accounting for 54.65% of the group’s total revenue. Among which, the new energy vehicle business was up 38.88%, at RMB25.45 billion, representing 40.92% of the total. 

Driving this growth (can’t escape the pun) was new models, apparently. As the company noted, its share of the Chinese market for EVs increased by four percentage points to 24%. That is against a backdrop of surging overall EV sales in China, up nearly 50% YoY, to 617,000 units in the first half, and despite a fall in overall vehicle sales across the country as demand for fuel-emitting vehicles has slumped. The company believes its newest models were largely to thank for this, particularly the “Tang EV”, which can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 4.3 seconds and has a range of 500km. It is “regarded as the SUV with the most power in China, setting a new benchmark in the industry,” BYD writes.

In its financial report, management explained that the recent reduction in government subsidies had inevitably placed pressure on the industry. But in the long run, this is seen as being conducive to consolidating the market, promoting its healthy development. “Now the industry will be more market-driven, and new energy vehicle manufacturers with leading technology, reliable quality and good market reputation are likely to enjoy increasing market share,” it said.

Walmart to add 100 Guangdong stores

Walmart intends to add another 100 stores in Guangdong over the next five years, according to a company statement. They will include Sam’s Clubs, shopping malls and shops in residential communities, said the Arkansas-based retail giant, adding that it will also set up cloud-based warehouses for the branches.

Walmart opened its first China store in Shenzhen in 1996, and now has over 400 across the country. In March it completed its largest investment in China to date – a distribution center for fresh foods in Dongguan costing more than RMB700 million, serving over 100 brick-and-mortar shops.

Its newest store format, outlets in residential communities, debuted in Guangdong last year. It also set up a WeChat mini program for home deliveries this year, offering service to doorsteps within an hour of placing an order.

Evergrande boosts talent housing

Evergrande Group, China’s largest developer, has won two residential plots at a government auction in Guangzhou for a total of RMB5.7 billion. The two parcels are less than one kilometer from the industrial site Evergrande acquired in April to build its base for new energy vehicles.

Covering an area of 51,000 square meters, the two parcels are located inside Guangzhou Nansha’s Bonded Port, which is planned for the development of a comprehensive service sector and advanced manufacturing.

Evergrande is required by the local government to build talent apartments on the plots, including a 30-class primary school and a 18-class kindergarten. Upon their completion, the talent apartments will be resold to the organization units designated by Nanshan Development Zone Administrative Committee at the price of RMB3500 per square meter.

Gree gets nod to sell Zhuhai govt stake

Gree Electric Appliances, the air conditioner giant chaired by one of China’s best-known female business leaders, has been approved to go completely private. The company said in an announcement this week that the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission has agreed in principle for the city government to transfer most of its stake in the company through a public tender. 

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Guangzhou gets big AMOLED plant

Visionox Technology, a major Jiangsu-based developer of organic light-emitting diodes, plans to build a sixth-generation flexible active-matrix OLED(AMOLED)factory in Guangzhou’s Zengcheng Economic and Technological development zone, reports Yicai Global.The project with a total investment of RMB11.2 billion will focus on researching, developing, producing and selling various high-end AMOLED modules.

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Ping An boosts biotech incubator

Ping An-Dapeng International Bio-Valley, a joint venture between Ping An Urban Tech and the Dapeng district government, has recently teamed up with the Kotler Marketing Corp., a consulting firm based in Washington, DC, to cooperate on building the incubator base as well as raising a startup fund for biotech innovation. 

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Foxconn boss changes mind on Guangzhou LCD plant

Taiwanese billionaire Terry Gou, founder of the world’s biggest OEM supplier, Foxconn, has a lot on his plate. His biggest customer, Apple, has seen its smartphone share plunge in China, and he’s been making a public fuss about entering the presidential race back home. Still, headlines today suggesting that he wants to sell out of his biggest investment to date, a new RMB 60 billion factory in Guangzhou, within days of it opening, are undoubtedly turning heads in the provincial capital.

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Slush comes to Shenzhen

Slushhas arrived in Shenzhen. Not the stuff that comes after a heavy snowfall, but Europe’s leading startup and tech event – all the way from Finland.

Slush has been described by its organisers as the coolest tech conference on the planet, a description that has been well-earned since it was founded in Helsinki over a decade ago. Spreading from Finland to Japan, Singapore and China, the brand is growing in its efforts to bring together thousands of start-ups, entrepreneurs and investors under a global umbrella of cool.

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Ehang unveils plans for Urban Air Mobility Pilot City

When it comes to urban mobility, most people think of ride-sharing, whether it be by cars, bikes or, increasingly, scooters. However, advances in electric propulsion, autonomous flight technology and 5G communication will soon see the skies alive with machines that can carry things and people. 

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