Geely chief urges Beijing to open car market
Bloomberg in Shanghai
Bring it on. That is the message Li Shufu, the Chinese billionaire chairman of Volvo Cars, wants the government to give competitors in the largest vehicle market.
"It's best if it's completely open, like in the United States and Europe. Whoever wants to produce cars can do it," said Li, also chairman of carmaker Geely Automobile Holdings. "This is fair to us, it's fair to everyone. It would completely allow the role of the market and perhaps we will develop better."
Li, set to unveil the first new Volvo developed jointly with Geely next week, has previously called on the government to give foreign carmakers more control over their operations to quicken competition. The China Automotive Technology and Research Centre said in June that it was proposing two to three electric-vehicle making licences for firms other than carmakers.
In the market for conventional vehicles, Li has also pushed for easing regulations.
Beijing requires carmakers based outside the country to work with local partners and enforces rules that limit the companies' decision-making. Geely, whose sales fell 29 per cent in the first half to 187,186 units, is trying to boost sales by reducing the number of brands it sells.
The government has said the country's car industry should consolidate and threatened to cancel the permits of carmakers that do not meet the minimum production levels by October next year.
"The country shouldn't impose thresholds. But the country should have standards. Whoever manufactures the product must bear responsibility for them," Li said.