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Interview: German auto supplier continues to explore Chinese market amid positive outlook

Read: 1515Time: 07/04/2023

FRANKFURT, April 7 (Xinhua) -- ZF Group is optimistic about its development prospect in China and will continue to expand in the Chinese market, said Holger Klein, CEO of ZF Friedrichshafen AG.

As the global economy shows signs of recovery in 2023, China's recent announcement of its growth target this year sent a clear signal of economic rebound and will offer new opportunities for the automotive industry, said Klein in a recent interview with Xinhua.

The German auto supplier has expanded its business in China during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, it launched new production plants and development projects in six locations in China, including Jinan, Rizhao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Zhangjiagang and Guangzhou, Klein said.

Its sales in China have grown, reaching 7.7 billion euros (8.38 billion U.S. dollars) over the past fiscal year, a 10-percent increase from the year before.

The company maintains a positive outlook for China in the long run, and its local team looks forward to achieving more technological breakthroughs, the ZF chief stressed.

With the optimization of China's COVID response policies and gradual recovery of the supply chain, China's importance in the global supply chain and industrial chain is increasingly prominent, he said, adding that ZF sees great potential in China's booming auto market.

"We recognize that China's industrial ecosystem is evolving at a fast pace. Innovation continues to emerge. We expect China's automotive market to grow rapidly over the next decade, especially in smart electric vehicles," he said.

The German auto supplier also plans to expand its local circle of partners, start-ups and customer collaboration in China. Klein added that the company looks forward to standing at the forefront of technology and innovation in China.

Klein also lauded the efforts of China, the world's largest auto market and innovation center, in leading green and smart mobility, adding that ZF will continue participating in China's development.

"We are localizing our supply chain, production and R&D, as well as talent development in China ... China is an important region on our global map, accounting for around 20 percent of our global sales -- a share we want to increase," he said.