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Chinese carmaker BAIC set to move into the South African market

by Milicent Atieno
china south africa baic

According to a report by City Press, BAIC a leading car manufacturer in China is eyeing for a share of the established global brands.

BAIC has made public its global expansion plan that will see it compete with established car brands in some of the new markets; one of which is South Africa. The company outlined its plans at a ceremony held to mark the completion of phase one of its local production plant in South Africa.

The company has invested $835 million in the manufacturing plant located in Coega special economic zone in Port Elizabeth. From this production plant, BAIC intends to produce vehicles tailored to the African terrain.

We have established a very aggressive and sophisticated marketing plan for South Africa,” said Xu Heyi, the Chairman of BAIC International. “Currently, we have 17 dealerships and expect to increase them to 27 by the end of the year.”

China – South Africa bilateral ties

The first vehicle produced by BAIC was unveiled by the Chinese President, Xi Jinping and his counterpart President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday. The establishment of the BAIC production plant in South Africa serves to underscore the strengthening ties between the two countries.

This is confirmation of real partnership and cooperation based on solid relations,” said President Ramaphosa. “I am filled with pride, and the whole of Africa is open to us to produce these vehicles and export them.”

President Xi said the establishment of BAIC in South Africa is one of the fruits of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries back in 2015. He further added that cooperation between the two countries will be seen in more investments coming up soon.

It is reported that the facility has at least 1,500 construction jobs opened just during phase one. It also has delivered more than $15 million worth of contracts to the local businesses in SA. The company says it will be able to manufacture about 100,000 vehicles annually from the plant.

And in other news, BAIC announced it will stop production of traditional fuel-powered cars by the end of July 2018 in China. The carmaker wants to produce cars powered by the new energy vehicle (NEV) to better compete in the Chinese market.

In China the BAIC NEV cars are quite trendy, making the company a market leader among all the NEV manufacturers in the Chinese market.

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