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Continental CEO vows to develop, produce in China for China

Updated: Apr 21, 2023 chinadaily.com.cn Print
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Continental CEO Nikolai Setzer at the Shanghai auto show. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

German auto parts supplier Continental is revving up efforts to grow its business in China, the world's largest vehicle market, with an increasingly localized strategy.

"China is one of the most important growth markets for Continental. We will continue to develop and produce in the market, for the market," said CEO Nikolai Setzer.

Setzer made the remarks on Wednesday at the Shanghai auto show which runs from Tuesday to April 27.

The German company has been present in China for almost 30 years. Today, about every tenth of its around 200,000 employees work in the country.

In the past ten years, Continental has invested more than 3 billion euros in China.

Late last year, the company opened its first 5G plant globally in Changsha, capital of Hunan province. The factory offers innovative user experience solutions such as large LCD screens and head-up displays.

Setzer said the company has now 23 manufacturing sites and 28 research and development facilities across the country.

"We are further reinforcing, particularly on the software side, local R&D, local development in order to have the speed and speaking the same language," said Setzer.

Continental focuses on future oriented technologies such as high-performance computers and zone control units as the automotive industry is becoming electric and smart.

Globally, around 30 vehicle models from different manufacturers with high-performance computers from Continental will go into production until 2024.

In China, it already received two large-volume orders for high-performance computers from Chinese manufacturers.

One of them will be applied in Hyper GT - the first electric vehicle model from Aion's premium brand Hyper.

The company announced a deal of cooperation with Chinese startup Leapmotor at the Shanghai auto show.

It said its cooperation with local startups will accelerate its development of solutions for electric smart vehicles in the country.

Continental outperformed the market in 2022 in China. The light vehicle production increased last year in China by more than 6 percent. Sales of Continental's sales soared by more than 20 percent compared with 2021.

"We still see that China market is a very important growth market in our portfolio and the market grows faster than other markets," said Setzer.

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