The signing ceremony of the agreement between Guangxi Auto and Japanese ASF Co Ltd in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on Thursday. [Photo/China Daily]
Automaker in the autonomous region joins hands with Japanese partner to roll out electric cars
Guangxi Auto, a major Chinese automaker, joined hands with Japanese electric car developer ASF Co Ltd to develop electric vehicles for logistics distribution in Japan.
The cooperation pact was inked during the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Business Leaders Forum in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on Thursday.
According to the agreement, Guangxi Auto will be responsible for developing and manufacturing the EVs while ASF will shoulder the research and development expenses and sell the vehicles in Japan.
The EVs are expected to achieve mass production and hit the road in December. The first batch of the vehicles is valued at 210 million yuan ($33 million), and the two sides expect accumulated sales to reach 100,000 units by 2030, the agreement said.
The EVs will be used for short-haul freight transportation for small companies and daily community deliveries in Japan.
In November 2020, the two sides signed an agreement about entrusted technological development, and Guangxi Auto started to develop prototype cars. The model car was displayed in Japan in April.
"In the next 10 to 15 years, some gasoline and diesel vehicles will start to phase out and rapid development has been seen in the new energy vehicle industry. China is taking the lead globally in NEV development," said Yuan Zhijun, general manager of Guangxi Auto.
"The cooperation is expected to help Guangxi Auto accelerate tapping the Japanese market for microtype NEVs for logistics distribution. The cooperation also marks the first time for Guangxi's vehicles to enter the market of Japan－a global automobile power－marking a milestone for the region's automobile industry," Yuan said.
Atsushi Tamura, chief operating officer of ASF, said it had discussions with several Chinese car manufacturers, and was ultimately satisfied with Guangxi Auto's strong vehicle integration capability, supply chain system and professional R&D capabilities.
Conducting economic exchanges with Guangxi partners can also help Japanese enterprises to better tap the business opportunities in Southeast Asian markets, thanks to the geographical advantages of the autonomous region, Tamura said.
The RCEP agreement, which took effect on Jan 1, covers roughly 30 percent of the world's population. It is forecast to provide a strong boost to international trade and investment and enhance the level of economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region.
The region has been actively participating in economic and trade cooperation with other RCEP members and the autonomous region has been a beneficiary. From 2010 to 2020, the trade value between Guangxi and other RCEP member countries grew from $8.8 billion to $39 billion. The RCEP region is the largest investment destination for Guangxi, according to the local government.
During the forum, the Guangxi Chamber of International Commerce announced it has set up a service center for overseas enterprises from other RCEP member countries, with an aim to further promote trade in goods and services between the two sides.
The center is expected to play a vital role in helping domestic and foreign firms leverage RCEP preferential policies. It will also provide enterprises with consulting services on two-way business environment and investment policy. The cooperation between Guangxi Auto and ASF served as the first achievement of the center.
"The RCEP agreement is expected to promote substantial growth of intra-regional trade and investment. It will help consolidate the integration of regional industrial chains, supply chains and value chains," said Gao Yan, chairwoman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, China's foreign trade and investment promotion agency.
"More than 90 percent of the goods that trade among approved RCEP members will eventually enjoy zero tariffs, and a number of important service trade sectors, such as finance, telecommunications, transportation, tourism and education, will see higher-level opening-up," Gao said.