HANGZHOU, China (Reuters) – Humming away in an industrial estate in the eastern Chinese resort city of Hangzhou, electric vehicle designer Automagic is one of hundreds of companies looking to ride the country’s wave of investment in clean transportation.
The company wants to find a niche in a crowded sector that already includes renewable equipment manufacturers, battery makers and property developers like the Evergrande Group, as well as established auto giants. But not all of these electric vehicle hopefuls will make it to the finish line.
“This (large number of firms) is inevitable, because whenever there is an emerging technology or emerging industry, there must be a hundred schools of thought and a hundred flowers blooming,” said Zhou Xuan, Automagic’s general manager, referring to Chinese leader Mao Zedong’s ill-fated 1956 “Hundred Flowers” campaign aimed at encouraging new ideas.
China is using preferential policies and brute manufacturing power to position itself at the forefront of global efforts to electrify transportation. By the end of 2017, ownership of new energy vehicles (NEV) – those powered by fuels other than petrol – reached 1.8 million in China, over half the world’s total.
With market expectations high, Chinese EV maker NIO, a rival to Tesla, launched a high-profile IPO in New York last month.