Anti-monopoly is difficult to curb the rapid expansion of foreign auto parts companies in China

Abstract This is the six years after the implementation of China's Anti-Monopoly Law, the automotive industry really appreciates its existence. Beginning in 2014, the term “anti-monopoly” will be popular in China's auto industry and may continue for many years. Currently, the Chinese automotive industry...
This is the six years after the implementation of China's Anti-Monopoly Law, the automotive industry really appreciates its existence. Beginning in 2014, the term “anti-monopoly” will be popular in China's auto industry and may continue for many years.

At present, the focus of anti-monopoly in China's auto industry is in the parts and components sector, including vertical monopoly and horizontal monopoly. The National Development and Reform Commission issued a 12,35 million yuan fine for 12 Japanese auto parts companies, which is a horizontal monopoly of joint manipulation of prices by a number of companies; the relevant ministries are also investigating supply channels and price agreements between vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. This is a vertical monopoly.

From this, we can feel that the Chinese government's anti-monopoly is deepening. The industry also hopes that for the long-term development of China's auto industry, anti-monopoly can curb the frenzied expansion of foreign-funded enterprises in China.

Since the beginning of this year, the author has been hearing about the expansion plans of foreign auto parts companies in China. Bosch, the world's largest auto parts company, announced that “by 2020, its Asia Pacific sales will double from 2013”; Delphi announced that “China sales will quadruple by 2020”; France Faurecia said, "The sales in China will double in the next five years, with an average of five new factories open each year."

It is not only a family of two, but a general phenomenon.

Under the background of the downward pressure on China's economy and the slowdown in the growth of China's auto market, why are foreign auto parts still firmly believed in the rapid growth of the Chinese market? The author once asked a CEO of a foreign-funded parts company: "Are you too optimistic?"

Looking back at the development history of foreign-funded parts and components enterprises in China, taking the compound annual growth rate of sales in the Chinese market in the past five years as an example, Bosch is 25%, Faurecia is 38%, and most other companies have reached double digits. , much higher than the overall growth rate of the Chinese auto market. At this rate of development, the goal of doubling in five years is not ambitious, and even conservative.

In the field of complete vehicles, there are still restrictions on the joint venture shares compared to the 50:50 red line and up to two joint ventures of similar products. In the field of parts and components, foreign-funded enterprises can arrange at will, not only without restrictions, but also enjoy the preferential treatment of foreign investment at all levels of government. Some foreign companies also looked for Chinese partner joint ventures in the early years, and later turned to sole proprietorship to build factories.

Therefore, when we lamented that the market share of self-owned brand cars fell by 11 consecutive years, the situation of self-owned parts and components was even more severe, and foreign-funded parts and components had already been fully reported. It is not only a joint venture vehicle, but also a large number of self-owned brand vehicles. The movement of foreign-funded components through the product line has expanded from the monopoly of the mid- to high-end market to the erosion of the low-end market.

Foreign auto parts companies accustomed to the rapid expansion of the Chinese market have stopped, and the current anti-monopoly can slow them down?

The author believes that it is very difficult. At least the current antitrust measures are unlikely to have this effect. There are three reasons. First, the technical level of foreign auto parts is still high. Even if anti-monopoly breaks the price alliance of the original foreign-funded parts and components enterprises, it is difficult for independent brand enterprises to achieve the same level of technology. Moreover, after breaking the monopoly, foreign-funded parts and components may be cut in price, and their price-performance advantages will be highlighted, and more orders may be obtained.

Second, today's fines do not change the overall performance of foreign component companies. Of the 12 Japanese parts companies, 2 were exempt from penalties, and the lowest of the other 10 were fined 2% of the previous year's sales, up to 8%. Based on the monopoly of these companies in the Chinese market, the profit rate must have exceeded 10%. They have already earned a lot of money. Such fines can only be regarded as warnings and cannot shake their income levels.

Third, to break the monopoly of the OEMs on the original factory channels, the biggest benefit will be foreign-funded parts enterprises. Because they are the largest suppliers of original parts, most companies also have extensive after-sales market experience. Once the original parts can be sold freely to the aftermarket, foreign parts companies will gain huge new growth points, and sales in China will increase.

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