Lippstadt/Shanghai, 26 April 2021. The internationally positioned automotive supplier HELLA considers itself to be well placed to continue its successful business development in the Chinese automotive market. The company once again confirmed this against the backcloth of the Auto Shanghai 2021. HELLA aims to more than double its sales in China within the next five years. The basis for this is the established "In China, for China" strategy of the lighting and electronics expert. The main aim here is to consistently align the product portfolio with local market requirements and to continuously strengthen HELLA’s local network there on site.
"Every third vehicle produced worldwide today rolls off the production line in China. At the same time, China is increasingly assuming a central pioneering role for global trends such as electromobility and autonomous driving," explains HELLA CEO Dr. Rolf Breidenbach. "For all these reasons, we are continuing to push ahead with the expansion of our activities in China with utmost determination. In doing so, we are primarily focusing on the further localisation of our product portfolio and also on the continuous strengthening of our presence with the help of our own HELLA companies and through our cooperation network. This setup enables us to provide the best possible support to our local customers, thus allowing us to participate in the growth of the Chinese automotive market."
Further intensification of business with Chinese manufacturers
HELLA has been present in China since 1992 and currently employs around 6,000 people there. In the fiscal year 2019/2020, HELLA generated sales of around € 900 million in the Chinese market (including the effective sales contributions of the joint ventures). The client base includes both international car manufacturers and local Chinese customers.
The goal is to further increase the share particularly with local customers. Currently this is around 22 percent. To this end, the product portfolio is to be tailored even more closely to Chinese market needs. For example, HELLA has developed a Bluetooth-Based Smart Car Access System that is specifically designed to address the Chinese market. It allows completely hands-free vehicle access. HELLA has already received orders for this product from several reputable Chinese car manufacturers. Series production was launched in August 2020.
Consistent alignment of portfolio along local market requirements
In view of China's increasing pioneering role with regard to trends such as electromobility and autonomous driving, HELLA is also stepping up its own local activities in these areas. For example, the company is currently preparing the series production of radar sensors based on 77 GHz in Shanghai. The production of the latest 48-volt converters has also recently started there. These are an essential key technology for mild hybridisation.
In addition, the company is keen to further penetrate the Chinese market against the backdrop of innovative headlamp technologies. These include the latest chip-based headlamp matrix systems SSL100 and SSL|HD. For the volume segment, HELLA also wants to intensify its business with a variety of LED headlamp technologies that combine high performance, functionality and local price requirements.
Expansion of production capacities and partner network
In order to meet the growing market demand in China, HELLA is steadily expanding its local presence. For example, the production capacity of the electronics plant in Shanghai was recently doubled. At the same time, the company is focusing on the further expansion of its partner network, which currently consists of a number of strategic cooperations and five joint ventures. In this context, HELLA established a new joint venture with MINTH last year to develop and produce radomes and illuminated logos in China. Operations have already commenced. At the same time, HELLA is particularly in the process of further deepening its cooperation with Chinese battery manufacturers. The focus here is primarily on offering high-performance battery packs for the global market, consisting of battery cells and the associated battery management from HELLA.
"A strong local market presence is indispensable if you want to succeed in China. Overall, this gives us a good starting point to achieve our ambitious growth targets in China and, in the future, to develop faster than the market," says HELLA CEO Dr. Rolf Breidenbach.