Wang Qing: In the face of the wave of change in the automotive industry, it is more critical for parts companies to find their positioning


Zhao Jianguo


The transformation of the automotive industry continues to accelerate, and the development trend of automotive intelligence, networking, and electrification has become a major trend, and the cooperation between vehicle and parts companies has also attracted much attention. Recently, GAC Group changed GAC AION's AH8 project from joint development with Huawei to independent development in an announcement issued by a listed company, and said that Huawei continues to be an important parts supplier to GAC. This change has triggered thinking and heated discussions in the industry.


The change from cooperative development to independent development highlights the control of car companies over dominance. "Under the background of the transformation of the automotive industry, intelligent new energy vehicles are developing rapidly, and in this process, the entire industrial chain and value chain are also being reconstructed." Wang Qing, deputy director of the Institute of Market Economy of the Development Research Center of the State Council, recently said in an interview with a reporter from China Automotive News that the above cases reflect the theme of the times of the reconstruction of the zero-zero relationship.


Specific problems are analyzed on a case-by-case basis


Looking at the control of car companies over the dominance, it is also necessary to analyze specific problems.


In Wang Qing's view, in the overall trend of development in the era of intelligent vehicles, the status of some key component suppliers such as automatic driving, operating systems, and power batteries is rising, and the higher the degree of automotive intelligence, the more obvious this trend will be.


Among them, how parts companies like Huawei position themselves at different stages of development need to be further clarified. If under the current circumstances, including Huawei itself, recent internal documents also require it to remove the Huawei logo in the promotion of the model developed in cooperation with Cialis, this is also an adjustment and a way to weaken its strong position in cooperation.


"This reveals two problems." Wang Qing said that on the one hand, Huawei chooses to be a parts supplier for automotive manufacturers, or more to allocate resources and enhance its dominance in the automotive industry chain and value chain. On the other hand, Huawei also has to balance its own approach, at present, Huawei has extended more downstream in the industry chain and value chain, including providing parts for the whole vehicle, Huawei's smart selection cooperation model, and participating in the distribution field, but extending too many links may cause anxiety among some vehicle companies, which will make car companies think about whether Huawei will become their own competitors in the future, and whether car companies will be more constrained in cooperation. Car companies have different sizes and different concerns about such issues. Specifically, for example, GAC Group and Cialis will have different concerns, and GAC, including SAIC, may be more worried about cooperating in jointly developing vehicle and intelligent core technologies, making themselves more passive in the partnership, or forming a competitive relationship in the future.


Industry competition affects cooperation


The rapid development of smart electric vehicle products and markets has objectively further intensified industry competition.


"Industry competition and future market competition are all factors that affect the cooperation between vehicle and parts companies." Wang Qing said that with the rapid development of the intelligent electric vehicle industry, the status of parts suppliers is continuing to improve, especially the status of intelligent and other related core technology system providers will rise rapidly, once it rises to a certain extent or will become a competitor of car companies, the cooperative relationship between the two sides will turn to competition, which is not only worried about car companies, but also brings about changes in the entire market competition pattern.


Wang Qing believes that the future trend of zero cooperation depends more on the development of the market and industry. Because at present, vehicle companies may have more concerns about who will lead the cooperation, and some car companies will worry about whether they will cultivate a competitor in the cooperation. Therefore, parts companies such as Huawei need to have a reasonable positioning at this stage, whether to choose to be a parts supplier, or to reflect Huawei's genes and brands more in the automotive industry chain, especially in the downstream vehicle industry, they need to clarify their own positioning.

Recently, in addition to Cialis, not only the cooperation between GAC and Huawei has been "downgraded", but also some of Huawei's previous partners have been silenced, which is thought-provoking. "For the current situation, Huawei itself seems to be aware of the problems in its own positioning, so it began to actively shrink its dominant force." Wang Qing said that because some of Huawei's practices have indeed caused vehicle companies to have more and more anxiety and concerns. If Huawei can clearly realize that its positioning is to be a parts supplier like Bosch and Continental, its market strategy will also change significantly, and whether it will directly build cars in the future is a matter of the future, but there must be a clear choice at this stage.


Look at things through the lens of development


In the near future, even Huawei's only car company, Cialis, the only car company in the smart selection cooperation model, is changing. The industry noted that Chongqing Blue Electric, a subsidiary of Cialis, has released the Blue Power brand new energy vehicle independently developed by Cialis, which does not rely on Huawei.


For the reality of parts suppliers, Wang Qing believes that from the general trend of intelligent electric vehicle development, the status of related core component suppliers continues to improve, because intelligence brings real demand, even without Huawei, there are other companies to play this role, because now a car company can not have all the technology from the industrial chain to the supply chain, like BYD in the industrial chain to cover more is already a special case, it does not have replication, because BYD itself does battery and other parts to start. From the perspective of the industry, a vehicle enterprise needs to integrate different resources, to be the party that integrates resources, or to be the party to be integrated, this is the choice that vehicle companies such as GAC and SAIC need to make.


But at the same time, Wang Qing also believes that to some extent, the determinants of the market are stronger. If the products of deep cooperation between car companies and Huawei continue to sell well in the market, this will also play a demonstration effect and force enterprises to make choices. Therefore, the role of the market cannot be ignored. This reflects the cooperation mode between car companies and partners, and both parties are constantly running in and adapting, which is the status quo at the current stage. "Therefore, to discuss dominance and bargaining power, we must also look at the market, a cooperation model adapted to the present may not necessarily adapt to the future, even if the strategic choice of the enterprise is suitable now, but it is not necessarily suitable in the future, and it is necessary to look at the problem with the perspective of development." Wang Qing said frankly.

Originally published on China Automotive News on April 7, 2023