The Belt and Road Initiative is an initiative between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the dominant transnational economic belt created in 2013. It covers countries and areas along the Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road historically passing through mainland China, Central Asia, North and West Asia, the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean coast.
On April 24 the 4th "Belt and Road" International Forum hosted by Phoenix TV was held in Beijing. The theme of this forum was "SDGs on Belt & Road". Hundreds of representatives of international organizations, senior executives of enterprises and the government participated in the event to discuss the development and overseas expansion of Chinese enterprises in the process of practicing the "Belt and Road" Initiatives. During the event, Wei Jianjun, Chairman of Great Wall Motor Company Limited, together with Liang Guining, Director of the Institute of Foreign Investment and Cooperation of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Commerce, Fang Qiuchen, President of China International Contractors Association (CHINCA), Wu Zhong, Secretary-General of the Finance Center for South-South Cooperation and other leaders and guests attended the event and discussed the way forward for Chinese enterprises to promote sustainable development through globalization.
At the forum, Chairman Wei Jianjun shared the experience and achievements of Great Wall Motors in practicing the "Belt and Road" Initiatives in recent years with the guests present which was extremely well received. The guests believed that Great Wall Motors, as the leader of Chinese car makers, not only fulfilled its benchmark role as a leading company in the industry but also brought new inspiration to the development of China's automobile industry in promoting the "Belt and Road" Initiatives within their business policies and strategic planning.
It was stated by Wei Jianjun's that if a brand wants to succeed, it must become an international brand. Chinese enterprises must thus take building valuable international brands as their ultimate goal when planning to go to market and as such Chinese automobile enterprises are even more duty-bound in this respect.
In order to achieve this goal, Great Wall Motors started their international efforts as far back as 1998. Relying on its SUV and pickup truck products, it has achieved an aggregated sales volume of 600,000 units in overseas markets making it among the top Chinese car brands. In 2018, 46 995 vehicles were exported, this being an increase of 20% when compared to 2017. Currently the HAVAL brand maintained their status as the top selling Chinese SUV brand in 32 markets out of a total of 52 countries in the world. On the other hand Great Wall pickup has ranked first in China's pickup truck brands for 21 consecutive years in terms of exports.
The global development of Great Wall Motors has undoubtedly achieved huge success. Wei Jianjun believes Great Wall Motors has had an accelerated development speed on its track of globalization since the launch of the "Belt and Road" Initiatives within the company since China proposed the "Belt and Road" Initiatives back in 2013. Great Wall Motors is also actively engaged in its production and R&D in countries involved in the "Belt and Road" Initiatives. It has established KD plants in countries involved in the "Belt and Road" Initiatives such as Malaysia, Ecuador, Tunisia and Bulgaria and a global R&D layout with China headquarters as the core covering Europe, Asia and North America.
Great Wall Motors established the first full-process plant of Chinese auto companies in overseas markets
At this forum, Wei Jianjun said that Great Wall Motors' first full-process vehicle manufacturing plant in Tulskaya Oblast, Russia, the first of its kind outside China, will officially start vehicle production in May this year. This activity is not only an important step in the global layout of Great Wall Motors, but also a model for other Chinese automobile enterprises in going global.
As one of Great Wall Motors’ most important overseas markets, the HAVAL brand is the best-selling Chinese brand in Russia with a year-on-year growth of 201% in terms of the sales volume in the first quarter of this year. Wei Jianjun said that Great Wall Motors has sold 120,000 vehicles in Russia and there is still a great market potential in the future. In the process of "going global", emphasis should not only be attached to the sales volume but also to the value brought to the local area. The establishment of Great Wall Motors' plant in Tulskaya Oblast, Russia is of great significance to all stakeholders and in doing so Russia will become the breakthrough point for Great Wall Motors to expand into the Eastern European market. For the local government, the plant can not only stimulate the local economic development and increase tax income but will also promote local employment. At present, the plant has employed more than 700 Russian employees and will expect to provide 4,000 new jobs for the local area in the near future. The completion of Great Wall Motors' plant in Tulskaya Oblast is further proof that the "Belt and Road" Initiatives made by China not only promote the export of products made in China but also realize the all-round “win-win” cooperation in the fields of technology, brand, manufacturing, market and operation.
Overall globalization helps enterprises to develop in a sustainable way
Presently sustainable development has become a challenge that Chinese enterprises must confront in the process of development. For enterprises with Great Wall Motors' scale, globalization is the only way to develop in a more sustainable way. Wei Jianjun believes that the globalization of Chinese enterprises is not simply to "go global" but to be linked to the transformation of China's economic structure, to realize the integration of resources through foreign investment and to promote the organic interaction and combination of external resources and the domestic economy. In the international development of Chinese enterprises, they should not only export products and technologies to the overseas markets, but also spread Chinese culture and concepts and absorb the cultures of various nations in the world and finally merge them together. In this regard, Great Wall Motors has taken the lead example and always adhered to this principle during their cooperation with international resources in recent years thus laying a good foundation for the company’s sustainable development.
As a state plan, the "Belt and Road" Initiatives are the best platform for Chinese enterprises to go abroad. Since the launch of the Initiatives, Chinese enterprises have actively gone global and demonstrated the strength and charm of "Smart Manufacturing of China" to the world. For Chinese enterprises, especially for those in the Chinese automobile industry, what they have gained in the process of globalization is not only the opportunity in the overseas markets, but also the vitality of their sustainable development. In this regard, Great Wall Motors has become a pioneer.