Chinese car-maker explores Indonesian market

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, August 22, 2017
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On China's rural and urban roads, one vehicle can be seen almost everywhere: the Wuling minibus.

Manufactured by SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co. (SGMW), the budget minibuses can take both passengers and a large amount of goods, making them a popular choice among commercial Chinese drivers.

Assured of its popularity in China, SGMW is expanding overseas. A factory in the town of Cikarang, Indonesia, opened last month, producing a new model, the Confero S, specially designed with the Indonesian market, currently dominated by Japanese brands.

"Chinese car-makers must build local factories if they want to expand overseas," said SGMW vice general manager Shen Yunxiao.

In 2002, when the joint venture was established, production was barely 100,000 cars a year. In 2004, SGMW began exporting via shareholder GM Chevrolet's channels and broke into markets in South America, the Middle East and Africa. It then started exporting technology to GM factories in Egypt and India.

From 2011 to 2016, SGMW exported close to 138,000 vehicles to more than 40 countries, making it the biggest minibus exporter in China.

Construction of the company's Indonesian works began in 2015 at a cost of 700 million U.S. dollars. The project covers 60-hectares and is expected to produce 120,000 cars each year. The factory has also attracted many auto-part companies to Indonesia, generating about 3,000 jobs.

SGMW has teamed up with a vocational school in Liuzhou, an industrial city in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and home to the company's HQ, to train more than 300 Indonesian workers over the next three years.

Fernando Habel Alexza Inkiriwang has been studying automechanics in Liuzhou City Vocational College (LCVC) for ten months. Most of his classes are in Chinese. Each student studies at LCVC for about two years before going back to Indonesia for a year's apprenticeship before beginning work.

According to LCVC, graduates earn more than 2,000 yuan (300 U.S. dollars) per month during their apprenticeship, the standard for basic automobile workers there, but they earn much more after they become qualified.

"With skills, and knowledge of Chinese, graduates will manage other workers. They will also act as a channel between Indonesian and Chinese staff," said Tang Chunjie, in charge of the program at the LCVC.

In 2015, the program enrolled 63 students; in 2016, the number rose to more than 120.

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