After one year of construction, Germany’s Bosch, the world’s biggest auto parts maker, opened up its second Chinese chassis system control plant in Chengdu last month as a reinforced commitment to its “local for local” approach and “Go West” strategy in the country. Located in the Chengdu Economic and Technological Development Zone, the plant will serve the surging demands for active safety technologies from China’s OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) as they enhance their presence near this capital city of Sichuan Province — a western hub of China’s auto industry in the making.
Chen Yudong, president of Bosch China, discussed the company’s regional strategy with Shanghai Daily.
How does the new manufacturing site in Chengdu fit into Bosch’s business strategy for China ?
China has been recognized as the worldwide largest automotive market for the third year.
With increasing awareness of road safety, there is also an increasing demand for safe automotive technologies in China, just like in the auto markets of the developed world.
Taking up 127,000 square meters, the first phase of our new plant in Chengdu has been completed with a total cost of 287 million yuan (US$47 million). The investment will eventually amount to 880 million yuan. As the second manufacturing site of Bosch’s Chassis Systems Control division in the country besides the location in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, it underlines our strong confidence in the Chinese market and also enables Bosch to meet the demand of customers in mid-west China with faster response and better service.
Since the entrance into China in 2002, Bosch Chassis Systems Control has been providing various advanced products and technologies in the areas of active safety, passive safety, actuation and driver assistance systems, and will be continuously strengthening its local competence, from local production to local research and development.
The new plant in Chengdu has started the production of wheel speed sensors this year and will make an Antilock Braking System (ABS) and an Electronic Stability Program (ESP) next year.
Why did the company choose to invest in Chengdu?
As a company with more than 100 years of presence in China, Bosch has been making great investment and localization efforts in the western region in order to get a more balanced business structure and long-term sustainable growth in the country.
And the central government’s Go West campaign has made leapfrogging development possible for the region in the past decade.
Bosch is excited and committed to be an integral part of this fast-growing economy and puts a special focus on Chengdu, which has a strong regional economic influence.
Our decision to choose the city to set up a new chassis system control plant was also based on its favorable investment environment, good infrastructure, and most importantly, the solid foundation of the auto industry in the area.
It is an ideal location for us to better serve the OEM customers in China.
Other highlights of Bosch’s business in Chengdu
As a leading supplier of technology and services, Bosch group also brought its Packaging System and Power Tool divisions to Chengdu and established a communications center there which is acting as a service hub for the entire country.
At the beginning of last year, Bosch Packaging Technology started its operations in the city’s Pujiang County, and broke ground on a new plant there this May. The first expansion phase is scheduled to wrap up in 2014, making the production facility the biggest one of Bosch Packaging worldwide with an investment of 150 million yuan.
Besides, the division’s only Asia-Pacific research and development center will also be located in Pujiang.
Bosch is building its second Chinese electric tool plant in the county, which is due to start operation in 2014.
Along with its investment, Bosch has brought its dual-system apprenticeship program to Chengdu to help the city nurture skillful blue-collar workers. In cooperation with vocational schools, the program provides students with training at Bosch plants and an opportunity to work for Bosch after graduation.