China carmakers seek more government support for smart car supply chain

Newly manufactured cars are seen at the automobile terminal in the port of Dalian, Liaoning province, China July 9, 2018. (REUTERS)
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Updated 24 October 2020

China carmakers seek more government support for smart car supply chain

  • Chinese Internet companies, including Alibaba and Baidu, have launched partnerships with automakers, while Huawei Technologies, BYD and startup Horizon Robotics are developing semiconductor products

SHANGHAI: China’s auto industry has called for more government support and tie-ups between auto and tech companies on technologies, such as software and semiconductors, to make the country’s smart car supply chain more self-sufficient.
Government officials and industry executives at the 2020 China Auto Supply Chain Conference, held in the northwestern city of Xian this week, said the supply chain of in-car operating systems and other core technologies lagged behind international levels, a situation they want to change.
China, the world’s biggest auto market, wants sales of vehicles with intelligent functions such as Internet connectivity and autonomous driving to make up 30 percent of overall new vehicle sales by 2025.
Beijing has been trying to boost domestic tech capability by pouring billions of dollars into sectors such as semiconductors, after trade tensions between China and other countries, including the US, exposed the country’s reliance on foreign know-how.
“China’s supply chain of in-car operating system, software and other key core technologies are still far behind the international advanced level,” Ma Chunsheng, an official at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said.
Ma said the government will encourage companies from different industries to work together on key technology breakthroughs such as car operation systems.

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Beijing wants sales of vehicles with intelligent functions to make up 30 percent of overall new vehicle sales by 2025.

“Technology startups face financial difficulties and urgently need the government to issue strategic support measures,” said Luo Junmin, senior executive at the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Jumin said the government should offer better fundraising platforms to those companies to “support the transformation and upgrading of the automobile industry.”
In-car software and semiconductor products are expected to make up the majority of cars costs by 2030, a recent research report by consultancy Roland Berger and industry think tank China EV 100 estimated.
Chinese Internet companies, including Alibaba and Baidu, have launched partnerships with automakers, while Huawei Technologies, BYD and startup Horizon Robotics are developing semiconductor products.


Fishing rights top Brexit talks agenda

Updated 30 November 2020

Fishing rights top Brexit talks agenda

  • A no-deal scenario is widely expected to cause economic chaos

LONDON: Last-ditch Brexit trade talks continued in London on Sunday with fishing rights remaining an “outstanding major bone of contention,” according to British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier told reporters that “work continues, even on a Sunday,” as he arrived for the second day of talks.

Barnier had arrived in London on Friday following a spell in self-isolation after a member of his team contracted coronavirus and ahead of the resumption of talks with British counterpart David Frost on Saturday.

Both men warned that a deal could not be reached without major concessions from the other party.

There are only five weeks to go until the end of the current transition period, during which trade relations have remained largely unchanged.

The two key sticking points remain post-Brexit access to British fishing waters for European vessels and the EU’s demand for trade penalties if either side diverges from common standards or state aid regulations rules.

Raab told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday that this could be the final week of “substantive” talks, with time running out to agree and ratify a deal.

“There’s a deal to be done,” he said.

“On fishing there’s a point of principle: As we leave the EU we’re going to be an independent coastal state and we’ve got to be able to control our waters,” he added.

Barnier told envoys last week that London was asking that European access to UK waters be cut by 80 percent, while the EU was willing to accept 15 to 18 percent, according to a Brussels source.

A British official called the demands “risible,” according to the domestic Press Association, adding that the “EU side knows full well that we would never accept this.”

“There seems to be a failure from the Commission to internalize the scale of change needed as we become an independent nation,” said the source.

However, Raab was cautiously optimistic over the “level playing field” issue, saying “it feels like there is progress toward greater respect” for Britain’s position.

A failure to reach an agreement would see Britain and the EU trading on World Trade Organization terms, with tariffs immediately imposed on goods traveling to and from the continent.

As it stands, Britain will leave Europe’s trade and customs area on Dec. 31, with no prospect of an extension.

A no-deal scenario is widely expected to cause economic chaos, with customs checks required at borders.

Concern is particularly acute on the border between EU member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland, where the sudden imposition of a hard border threatens the delicate peace secured by 1999’s Good Friday Agreement.

The talks have already dragged on much longer than expected and time is running out for ratification of any deal by the European Parliament by the end of the year.