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Global View

1Chinese Car Industry


China strives to bring order to unruly car-sharing sector

  • China has tightened the rules governing its booming car-sharing market in an effort to ensure the services develop in an orderly manner.

  • The 37 rental car-sharing companies in China operate about 6,000 electric vehicles in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. That number will rise to 30,000 in 50 cities by the end of 2017, says Analysys, a Chinese research firm.

  • Another 6,000 or so rental car companies have begun offering car-sharing services, and Analysys projects the service will generate transaction volumes of about $1 billion in 2020.

  • Much like their bike-sharing peers, car-sharing companies still spend more per vehicle than they earn. Subsidies for electric vehicles have been phased out slowly and will disappear in 2020, and companies must invest heavily in infrastructure such as charging stations and parking spaces. (Financial Times, Aug. 8)

2Automakers & Brands

Nissan to sell battery business to Chinese investment company

  • Nissan has agreed to sell its electric battery business to Chinese investment firm GSR Capital for an undisclosed sum.

  • The business to be sold to GSR includes battery operations in the U.S., England and Japan, Nissan said in a statement.

  • Nissan will first take full control of its battery subsidiary, which is called Automotive Energy Supply Corp., by buying the combined 49% minority stake held by NEC Corp and its subsidiary NEC Energy Devices.

  • Automotive Energy Supply produces lithium ion cells for the Nissan Leaf electric car. GSR sees value in building an independent battery supplier to multiple automakers and is considering moving some of AESC's manufacturing to Hubei in China, according to a recent report. (Reuters, Aug. 8)

China's Didi invests in Dubai-based ride-sharing platform

  • China's largest ride-hailing service provider Didi Chuxing is investing in Dubai-based ride-sharing platform Careem, it said on Tuesday.

  • Under the strategic partnership, the two companies will cooperate on smart transportation technology, product development and operations

  • The move pushes Didi's reach into the Middle East and North Africa, where Careem boasts 12 million users, with a fleet of more than 250,000 drivers. The Chinese company hopes to tap into regions where the internet economy holds "significant potential," according to Didi founder and chief executive Cheng Wei. (Nikkei Asian Review, Aug. 8)

Mazda announces breakthrough in long-coveted engine technology

  • Mazda Motor Corp said it would become the world's first automaker to commercialize a much more efficient petrol engine using technology that deep-pocketed rivals have been trying to engineer for decades, a twist in an industry increasingly going electric.

  • The new compression ignition engine is 20-30% more fuel efficient than the Japanese automaker's current engines and uses a technology that has eluded the likes of Daimler AG and General Motors Co.

  • Mazda, with a research and development budget a fraction of those of major peers, said it plans to sell cars with the new engine from 2019. (Reuters, Aug. 8)

Chinese firm Alibaba to open a 'car vending machine' next year

  • Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba is to open its own car "vending machine" next year in a bid to make buying a car "as easy as buying a can of Coke."

  • The launch follows used car seller Autobahn Motors' opening of its futuristic 15-storey showroom in Singapore last year, which was billed as the "world's largest luxury car vending machine".

  • Alibaba will reportedly follow in Autobahn's footsteps with the launch of its own car vending machine. It will allow buyers to browse cars on their smartphones and press the buy button, which then releases the car from a vertical display tower. (Telegraph.co.uk, Aug. 8)