Category Archives: Tech

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.

Shenzhen launches 5G buses

Guangzhou may have launched the country’s first 5G bus line back in May, but Shenzhen has not been far behind. It now has two routes running from the Lianhua Mountain Bus Terminal – No. 10 and No. 14 – offering a superfast 5G network to passengers on their daily commute through the city’s main business districts of Luohu and Futian. The lines are used by around 12,000 passengers per day on a fleet of 50 buses.

Download speeds inside the buses reach 1.5Gbps, allowing for movies to be downloaded in seconds. However, that is not the main attraction. The 10-meter compartments of these “smart buses” offer “immersive VR travel experiences” as well. With the help of exterior cameras, passengers can have aspects of scenery along the way projected onto the bus screens, with explanatory details included.

Needless to say, the buses also come equipped with onboard cameras running facial-recognition technology. This is being promoted by the bus company as an improvement on safety.

Guangzhou unveils 3-year 5G plan

Guangzhou has released a three-year action plan to accelerate the development of 5G, which is faster than even Shenzhen’s. By the end of the year, the provincial capital will have 20,000 base stations working, covering most of the city’s key business hubs. That compares to Shenzhen’s planned 8,500 base stations by the end of this year. Moreover, Guangzhou has set a three-year target of 65,000 base stations, compared to 45,000 in Shenzhen. 

The differences are largely due to their respective geographic size – Shenzhen squeezes its 13 million residents into a smaller space than Guangzhou does with its 14 million. Both will ensure “comprehensive coverage” across their urban areas by 2021.

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Shenzhen drives tech parks nationwide

Asset managers and enterprises from Shenzhen have been spearheading the growth of science and technology parks beyond the city, official data shows. At present, there are 210 industrial parks nationwide established by Shenzhen’s state-owned asset managers and enterprises, according to Shenzhen Special Zone Daily. 

One of the main forces behind this expansion, Shum Yip Grop, has introduced a total of 17,275 enterprises into industrial parks across the country. These now include 179 listed companies, 19 of the world’s top 500 enterprises, and 50 incubators and entrepreneurial service institutions. 

Although only 49 are science and technology industrial parks, their construction area (36.862 million square meters) accounts for more than half of the gross. Shenzhen is intending to strengthen its ability to acquire and allocate scientific and technological resources domestically and overseas and built highly-integrated industrial complexes in batches all over the world, the paper says.

Foxconn, BYD step up as Huawei cuts Flex

When you move against an opponent, they should always be significantly weaker than you are. This is the basis of Sun Tzu’s teachings. The US government might have heeded such millennia-old advice when it decided to put Huawei Technologies on its Entity List back in May. Now, the Shenzhen-based technology giant has given a demonstration of how the Art of War works in business.

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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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