Mak­ing life bet­ter with in­no­va­tion

Bosch re­gards healthy com­pe­ti­tion as a sus­tain­able trig­ger for im­prove­ment

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - Q&A WITH CEO -

Please use three words to de­scribe China’s changes in the past 40 years.

Devel­op­ment, open­ness and speed.

What are the big­gest achieve­ments in China since the adop­tion of the re­form and openingup pol­icy 40 years ago?

The past 40 years has wit­nessed the surge of China’s eco­nomic growth. Re­form and open­ing-up re­leased the power of a mar­ket econ­omy and ig­nited the vigor for the coun­try’s eco­nomic devel­op­ment. Now China is the sec­ond­largest econ­omy in the world.

The au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try in China has also grown along the way. Forty years ago, pas­sen­ger cars were mainly al­lo­cated to gov­ern­ment of­fices and few peo­ple had the op­por­tu­nity to own a car. Now, China has be­come the largest au­to­mo­tive mar­ket in the world for nine con­sec­u­tive years, with more than the half of the ve­hi­cles sold be­ing Chi­nese lo­cal brands.

Be­sides eco­nomic devel­op­ment, we are also see­ing a huge im­prove­ment in na­tional ed­u­ca­tion. More peo­ple get the chance to go to uni­ver­si­ties to pur­sue higher ed­u­ca­tion. Study­ing abroad also gives Chi­nese peo­ple an in­ter­na­tional per­spec­tive and ex­pe­ri­ence. Fi­nally, in­creas­ing skills con­trib­ute to the eco­nomic devel­op­ment.

How has your com­pany ben­e­fited from the coun­try’s re­form and open­ing-up pol­icy?

Bosch has been in China for al­most 110 years. Creat­ing in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies and so­lu­tions to make life bet­ter is the brand’s im­per­a­tive. To­day, Bosch in China em­ploys close to 60,000 as­so­ciates, op­er­at­ing 62 en­ti­ties in­clud­ing 38 man­u­fac­tur­ing bases and 23 tech­ni­cal cen­ters. Now, China is Bosch’s sec­ond-largest mar­ket in the world and em­ploys the largest num­ber of as­so­ciates out­side Ger­many. Bosch’s au­to­mo­tive com­po­nents and so­lu­tions can be found in al­most all ve­hi­cle brands in China. Bosch’s drive and con­trol sys­tem sup­ports the Na­tional Cen­tre for the Per­form­ing Arts’ stage lift, a Qing­hai-Ti­bet Rail­way project, a 50-met­ric-ton crane in Yang­shan port, the Five­hun­dred-me­ter Aper­ture Spher­i­cal Tele­scope and many ma­jor pro­jects in China. Bosch home ap­pli­ances of­fer Chi­nese con­sumers a good choice for their con­sump­tion up­grade. Bosch not only wit­nesses the Chi­nese’s so­ci­ety’s devel­op­ment, but is also a proud part of it.

Has com­pe­ti­tion in­ten­si­fied be­tween your com­pany and Chi­nese com­pa­nies?

Dur­ing the past 40 years, Chi­nese com­pa­nies have de­vel­oped sig­nif­i­cantly and their growth has pro­pelled our mo­men­tum to strive for bet­ter. There is a say­ing in China “When the river rises, the boat floats high”. When the whole en­vi­ron­ment strives for ex­cel­lence, the whole in­dus­try nav­i­gates to­ward a bet­ter fu­ture. So Bosch ad­vo­cates co­op­er­a­tion and learn­ing from each other.

Bosch al­ways re­gards healthy com­pe­ti­tion as a sus­tain­able trig­ger for in­no­va­tion and a com­pany’s im­prove­ment. For ex­am­ple, Bosch is now trans­form­ing to­ward be­com­ing an in­ter­net-of-things com­pany. Chi­nese com­pa­nies are in the first fleet of dig­i­tal­iza­tion. In­stead of pure com­pe­ti­tion, col­lab­o­ra­tion and co­op­er­a­tion will be in­evitable to build a new ecosys­tem. Bosch is open to and ac­tive in part­ner­ing with lo­cal play­ers.

How do you view China’s role in the world to­day?

China is al­ready the sec­ond-largest econ­omy in the world. And now it con­tin­ues to grow at a more moder­ate pace un­der a new nor­mal. The coun­try is now play­ing an im­por­tant role in many ar­eas. For ex­am­ple, China is now the largest au­to­mo­tive mar­ket in the world, and the coun­try has more than 220 mil­lion reg­is­tered ve­hi­cles. China is also one of the big­gest trade mar­kets in both ex­port and im­port. Be­sides, China is a big man­u­fac­tur­ing na­tion, and it is also aim­ing to be­come a strong one in the com­ing fu­ture.

Could China’s ex­pe­ri­ences and prac­tices be used to solve global prob­lems?

China is now the world’s largest mar­ket for in­ter­net busi­ness, e-com­merce, AI and new en­ergy ve­hi­cles. These in­dus­tries are the fu­ture trends. Now in China, and only in China, can peo­ple live cash free and credit card free. More than half of new en­ergy pas­sen­ger cars are sold in China. Many startup com­pa­nies in China are in­no­vat­ing in man­u­fac­tur­ing, tech­nol­ogy devel­op­ment and new busi­ness mod­els of In­ter­net Plus busi­nesses. And many Chi­nese brands are be­com­ing worl­drenowned en­ter­prises and blaze the trail for dig­i­tal­ized busi­ness. All these en­deav­ors could be a ref­er­ence for other coun­tries.

What mea­sures are needed if China wants to deepen re­forms?

We ap­pre­ci­ate the ef­forts and com­mit­ment the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has made to im­prove the busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment. We be­lieve to fur­ther deepen re­forms, we need to first keep and ad­vo­cate the in­no­va­tive spirit. In­no­va­tion in all and by all. To be in­no­va­tive, tal­ents are the core fac­tor. How to de­velop tal­ents, re­tain ta­lent, and ig­nite their pas­sion to con­trib­ute is very im­por­tant. Be­sides, we also an­tic­i­pate an even fairer en­vi­ron­ment and equal op­por­tu­ni­ties for for­eign com­pa­nies like Bosch, which has deep­ened our roots in this mar­ket. For man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies, we re­gard in­dus­trial up­grad­ing as also an im­por­tant el­e­ment that should be fur­ther en­hanced. The up­grade along the whole value chain will def­i­nitely bring strong syn­ergy, and im­prove the whole in­dus­try’s com­pe­tence. We be­lieve these will both be op­por­tu­ni­ties for our own growth and con­tri­bu­tion to the Chi­nese econ­omy.

By ZHONG NAN zhong­[email protected]­nadaily.com.cn

Apart from eco­nomic devel­op­ment, what progress in other fields have you wit­nessed in China in the past 40 years?

Be­sides eco­nomic devel­op­ment, we also see in­creas­ing aware­ness of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion in China. From the shut­down of small dis­qual­i­fied coal mines, to wa­ter pol­lu­tion con­trol, to the PM2.5 in­dex na­tional an­nounce­ment and to the pro­mo­tion of new en­ergy ve­hi­cles, count­less mea­sures are be­ing taken right now in China. We see the de­ter­mi­na­tion of the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment to ful­fill its com­mit­ment to en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion. It’s a good phe­nom­e­non. We have been through a pe­riod when we sac­ri­ficed the en­vi­ron­ment for the sake of eco­nomic devel­op­ment, and now we re­al­ize we should seek a sus­tain­able path. Bosch has also been ded­i­cated to en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and take it as our re­spon­si­bil­ity, and will fur­ther echo the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment’s call to con­tinue green man­u­fac­tur­ing and cre­ate green prod­ucts and tech­nolo­gies.

What is the most un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ence in your ca­reer?

In 2011, my first year of be­ing pres­i­dent of Bosch China, Bosch in­au­gu­rated our head­quar­ters in Shang­hai and an­nounced the es­tab­lish­ment of the Bosch China Char­ity Cen­ter. From that time on, it has also been re­garded as the head­quar­ters of the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion for our com­pany, which demon­strates the ac­knowl­edge­ment of the im­por­tance of the Chi­nese mar­ket for Bosch group. The es­tab­lish­ment of BCCC once again shows Bosch’s res­o­lu­tion of tak­ing so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity to be one of the com­pany’s core val­ues.

What will be the coun­try’s “call­ing card” in the com­ing years?

The post-1990 and post-2000 and even the younger chil­dren are grow­ing in a pe­riod when China is eco­nom­i­cally bet­ter off and has bet­ter re­sources. They have op­por­tu­ni­ties to see more in this world and gain more knowl­edge. The new gen­er­a­tion will be the driver of fu­ture devel­op­ment. China is al­ready on the fast track to dig­i­tal­iza­tion, and we be­lieve that Chi­nese com­pa­nies have the com­pe­tence to be in­no­va­tive and keep lead­ing the dig­i­tal­ized mar­ket in the fu­ture.

ZHANG HAIYAN / FOR CHINA DAILY

Bosch’s stand at an expo in Bei­jing.

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