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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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Ideas

"Collateral Benefit": Could Putin's Launching A Failed War Make The World Better?

Consider the inverse of "collateral damage." Envision Russia's defeat and the triumph of a democratic coalition offers reflection on the most weighty sense of costs and benefits.

Photo of a doll representing Russian President Vladimir Putin

Demonstrators holding a doll with a picture of Russian President Putin

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — The concept of collateral damage has developed in the course of so-called "asymmetrical” wars, fought between opponents considered unequal.

The U.S. drone which targeted rebel fighters in Afghanistan, and annihilated an entire family gathered for a wedding, appears to be the perfect example of collateral damage: a doubtful military gain, and a certain political cost. One might also consider the American bombing of Normandy towns around June 6, 1944 as collateral damage.

But is it possible to reverse the expression, and speak of "collateral benefits"? When applied to an armed conflict, the expression may seem shocking.

No one benefits from a war, which leaves in its trace a trail of dead, wounded and displaced people, destroyed cities or children brutally torn from their parents.

And yet the notion of "collateral benefits" is particularly applicable to the war that has been raging in Ukraine for almost a year.

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