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Economy

Ready To Roll: China's New Master Plan To Challenge World's Top Automakers

Chinese carmakers have made some inroads in the automotive industry, but don’t yet pose much of a threat to their major European, Japanese and American counterparts. That could change – and quickly.

A recent model by Chinese carmaker BYD
A recent model by Chinese carmaker BYD


*NEWSBITES

Fueled by billions in government spending, China is preparing to launch a concerted challenge to the global automobile industry. Moving beyond its tendency to copy others' designs and technological advances, Chinese industrialists are set to build as many as five innovative mega-companies that could challenge the likes of Volkswagen, General Motors and Toyota by the end of the decade.

European manufacturers recognize the challenge. "Just the way the Japanese and the Koreans did, the Chinese will become globally competitive," the head of Daimler, Dieter Zetsche, told Die Welt. Porsche boss Matthias Müller too believes that within five to 10 years the Chinese could be exporting cars. And board chairman Wolfgang Porsche thinks it could be as few as three years. "They learn incredibly fast," he added.

Two of the biggest Chinese car companies have already announced ambitious plans. Chery says it wants to produce "cars to Western standards' and roll out three different Qoros brand models for global sale next year. Competitor BYD (Build your Dreams) is already one step ahead of that and has opened a branch in Los Angeles. "Never underestimate the Chinese," said Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of PSA brands Peugeot und Citroën. "Some companies are already building damn good cars."

China's government is encouraging the country's manufacturers to merge into large conglomerates that could buy up European, American or Japanese companies. MG Rover and Volvo have already been bought by Chinese companies, two of which -- Youngman and Pang Da – are currently looking to buy Saab.

Bosses for Germany's luxury brands say they aren't worried -- yet. "I'm assuming they'll seek to impact the mass car market first," says BMW head Norbert Reithofer, while Audi chief Rupert Stadler notes that: "For the time being, we're still seeing that our Chinese partners need and accept our know-how and support." For the time being.

Read the full story in German by Nikolaus Doll

Photo - RogerWo

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Geopolitics

New Probe Finds Pro-Bolsonaro Fake News Dominated Social Media Through Campaign

Ahead of Brazil's national elections Sunday, the most interacted-with posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Telegram and WhatsApp contradict trustworthy information about the public’s voting intentions.

Jair Bolsonaro bogus claims perform well online

Cris Faga/ZUMA
Laura Scofield and Matheus Santino

SÂO PAULO — If you only got your news from social media, you might be mistaken for thinking that Jair Bolsonaro is leading the polls for Brazil’s upcoming presidential elections, which will take place this Sunday. Such a view flies in the face of what most of the polling institutes registered with the Superior Electoral Court indicate.

An exclusive investigation by the Brazilian investigative journalism agency Agência Pública has revealed how the most interacted-with and shared posts in Brazil on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and WhatsApp share data and polls that suggest victory is certain for the incumbent Bolsonaro, as well as propagating conspiracy theories based on false allegations that research institutes carrying out polling have been bribed by Bolsonaro’s main rival, former president Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, or by his party, the Workers’ Party.

Agência Pública’s reporters analyzed the most-shared posts containing the phrase “pesquisa eleitoral” [electoral polls] in the period between the official start of the campaigning period, on August 16, to September 6. The analysis revealed that the most interacted-with and shared posts on social media spread false information or predicted victory for Jair Bolsonaro.

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