SAIC Motor up to 36th in Fortune Global 500 companies list
The 2018 Fortune Global 500 companies list was announced on the evening of July 19, Beijing Time, among which the SAIC Motor Corporation Limited (SAIC Motor for short) leaped to 36th with consolidated sales revenue of $128.819 billion in 2017, and ranked 9th and 7th among Chinese companies and global automobile companies on the list, respectively.
With the rapid development of the internet and communications technology, the auto industry has entered a major transformative period. Unswervingly sticking to the principle of innovation-driven transformation and active future planning, SAIC Motor has firmly grasped the trend of the auto industry by becoming more electrically-powered, internet-connected, sharing-based and internationally-focused, through vigorously strengthening its innovative and pioneering capacity, advancing both its joint ventures and independent businesses, and fostering new services in multiple areas to lead its development. In the first half of the year, SAIC Motor sold over 3.52 million vehicles, up 10.9 percent year on year, twice the pace of the average market growth, greatly strengthening its dominance in the market.
In particular, SAIC Motor has seen a surge of overall competitiveness and a trend of rapid development in its independent brands after ten years of persistent efforts, with SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle growing faster than any other mainstream domestic passenger vehicle company, at a year-on-year rate of 53.7 percent, through the sales of its brands Roewe and MG, and SAIC Maxus also growing by 36.6 percent in sales from a year earlier. The joint ventures of SAIC Motor have been making progress while maintaining stability, with Shanghai Volkswagen and Shanghai GM staying among the top three passenger vehicle companies in sales, and SAIC-GM-Wuling staying No.1 in the auto industry in sales. In the first half of the year, Shanghai Volkswagen, Shanghai GM, SAIC-GM-Wuling and SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle together made it into the top ten passenger vehicle companies in terms of sales for the first time.
Moreover, SAIC Motor has seen remarkable progress in a variety of projects involving technological and business model innovation. Its newly-built AI lab will help improve the working efficiency in different scenarios of the entire industrial chain by applying an algorithm based on in-depth learning, thus bringing more value to users. With significant technological advancement having been made in developing the electric vehicle, plug-in electric hybrid vehicle and fuel cell vehicle, SAIC Motor has launched a new series of innovations in core technologies related to the new-energy vehicles, such as with the main auto parts including the electric drive system, batteries, and the electric control system, the specific design of electric vehicles, and the high-power fuel cell stack. A new and advanced version of the Banma smart system for internet-based vehicles will be released soon, and smart cars with a self-parking function will also come out this year, greatly improving the internet-based smart auto industrial chain. Additionally, SAIC Motor has been establishing a car-sharing platform that involves all the main scenarios, in order to broaden its reach to as many people as possible. By keeping a differentiation advantage in the global market, SAIC Motor has doubled its sales volume in the first half of 2018 on a year-on-year basis, with over ten thousand vehicles sold in multiple markets worldwide. Thanks to its endeavors in strengthening its innovative and pioneering capacity, SAIC Motor has seen a great overall improvement in its businesses and has developed strong advantages as first movers in the auto industry. Accordingly, it has realized a total market value of 400 billion yuan ($58.66 billion), ranking 4th among all the listed companies in the global auto industry (as of the end of June, 2018).
First AI lab in the auto industry advances the company’s innovative capabilities
The SAIC Motor AI Lab, officially set up in June 2018, is an important part of the company’s core strengths. As the first of its kind in the global auto industry, the lab relies on SAIC Motor’s big data and cloud computing platforms as well as its abundant business scenarios, with a focus on smart travel, smart manufacturing, and intelligent driving, to create relevant AI applications and solutions, accelerate the in-depth integration of internet technology and the auto industry, and advance the innovative capabilities of SAIC Motor.
The SAIC Motor AI Lab, whose predecessor is SAIC Motor Anji AI Lab, has already launched the Spruce system, its first AI product, into the market. Developed by dozens of highly-educated R&D talents for two years, the system features a domestically-leading world-class AI algorithm, and is crowned as the “Alpha Go in the industry”. Specifically, it can provide a comprehensive logistics solution involving the demand prediction, route planning, human-vehicle (or goods-vehicle) matching, and overall improving and scheduling. Take a company’s logistics project in the Yangtze River Delta as an example. The work that might have taken two hours for five people to finish in the past can now be done by only one person in ten minutes via the Spruce system.
In SAIC Motor, there are thousands of such scenarios, generating massive amounts of data in every link of the industrial chain per day, including R&D, manufacturing, logistics and services. Moreover, the internet-based car may also have huge amounts of data accumulated regarding users’ travel experiences with the car, generating a total amount of several PB (1024*1024GB) of data every year. On that basis, plus a consideration of the characteristics of the manufacturing industry, SAIC Motor created a unique “data lake” (a platform for big data application and management) that supports the access of one million data rows per second and the query for ten billion data rows in sub-seconds, which is quite advanced in the auto industry. By conducting data collecting, cleaning, labeling, mining and analysis with the help of its data lake and its cloud computing center featuring 15PB of data storage, SAIC Motor is driving the optimization of its entire industrial chain and the innovation of its business model to improve the user experience and achieve greater values.
Innovative new-energy vehicles see rocketing sales
SAIC Motor is the only automobile company in China that sticks to the synchronous development of electric vehicles, plug-in electric hybrid vehicles and fuel cell vehicles, and is advanced both nationally and internationally in relevant technologies. In the first half of the year, SAIC Motor sold 57,000 new-energy vehicles, up 275 percent year on year, twice the pace of the average market growth, gaining the recognition of consumers as a medium to high-end auto brand. In June, its Roewe Ei5 electric recreational vehicle realized a sales volume of 4,661, beating any other domestic new-energy vehicle brand in sales for the month.
In 2018, SAIC Motor has won the second prize of the National Prize for Progress in Science and Technology for its plug-in electric hybrid vehicle system, marking for the first time that a new-energy passenger-vehicle technology has been awarded by a national prize for science and technology, which shows the strong innovative capacity of SAIC Motor in its core technologies. At present, SAIC Motor has launched a new series of innovations in the core technologies of its new-energy vehicles. It has been vigorously advancing the R&D and upgrading of the key auto parts including the second generation of the electric-drive transmission, the battery management system, and the internationally advanced electrical-axis-drive system that is solely owned and controlled by SAIC Motor. Meanwhile, the R&D of its specific design of electric vehicles and the Type 300 high-power fuel cell stack is also underway.
Internet-based smart cars with self-parking functions go into mass production
To take the lead in realizing business applications of internet-based smart cars in specific scenarios, SAIC Motor has been constantly increasing its strategic cooperation with well-known companies both at home and abroad, mainly in improving the service layout of the internet-based smart auto industrial chain that integrates the smart driving controller, the in-car human-vehicle interaction system, the executive system of the chassis, the in-car high-precision map, the V2X (vehicle-to-everything) communications and the road test system.
In 2016, SAIC Motor cooperated with Alibaba, and together they launched Roewe RX5, the world’s first internet-based SUV for mass production. Over the course of the last two years, SAIC Motor has sold a total of 700,000 internet-based cars, meeting the needs of car users in multiple aspects including insurance, maintenance, navigation and entertainment. Its Banma smart system for internet-based vehicles completed an OTA (over-the-air) upgrading at the end of 2017, which was the largest in scale globally. Users may download data packets in their cars at any time and in any place, and the cars will finish the system upgrading automatically, just like mobile phones do.
In April this year, the Roewe MARVEL X electric smart super SUV, with the function of self-parking, made its debut impressively in the Auto Frontrunner Summit 2018. It is the world’s first internet-based smart car model for mass production that realizes the function of self-driving in specific scenarios, and will be officially launched to the public later this year.
Car-sharing solution provides one-stop services for users
Global Car Sharing and Rental Co, established by SAIC Motor, is the world’s largest company specializing in new-energy-vehicle car sharing and rental businesses. It is now providing services for 63 cities across the country, with 28,000 licensed cars operating in over 12,000 outlets, and more than 2.75 million customers registered as its members. By handling an order in just one second on average, the company has seen rapid improvement in its business scale and operating performance. At present, SAIC Motor is focusing on developing a specific new-energy-vehicle model for car-sharing, which is based on a brand new A00 design, to cement its dominance over the car-sharing market.
SAIC Motor has also established a company devoted to online car-hailing businesses, which are directly connected with consumers and provide high-frequency services, to meet the needs of mainstream car users. In the future, SAIC Motor will coordinate its online car-hailing, time-share car rental, short-term and long-term car rental businesses to cover the main scenarios of car-using, and by providing one-stop services that support making multiple orders at the same time, create a large platform for its car sharing and rental services and broaden its reach to as many people as possible.
Global operations are in full swing
In terms of its global operations, SAIC Motor now has production bases in Thailand, Indonesia and India, research & innovation centers in the United Kingdom and Israel, as well as 13 overseas marketing centers in major regional markets such as the Middle East, South America, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Australia and Europe, with its products sold in bulk to developed countries including the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Germany.
SAIC Motor has been developing a differentiation advantage in its overseas markets. Its MG ZS vehicle became the highest monthly selling SUV vehicle in Thailand after four months of its launch in the country’s auto market. The car is equipped with i-SMART, the world’s first internet-based vehicle system that supports voice control in the Thai language, and is thus quite popular among young consumers. Earlier this year, 200 SAIC Maxus EV80 electric wide-body light passenger vehicles were delivered to customers in Germany, developing a brand new market segment in this country.
SAIC Motor ranked No.1 across the country in terms of overseas sales in 2016 and 2017 consecutively. In the first half of 2018, SAIC Motor doubled its sales volume on a year-on-year basis, with nearly 130,000 units sold in multiple markets including Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and South America.
In recent years, SAIC Motor has invested a total of 50 billion yuan ($7.37 billion) in innovation, and brought in more highly-skilled professionals in this regard. Last year, over 1,200 additional technical highly-skilled professionals specializing in the internet, big data and AI joined the independent R&D team of SAIC Motor. From this year on, SAIC Motor is looking to bring in over 1,000 software engineering talents every year to make itself more electrically-powered, internet-connected, sharing-based and internationally-focused.
Looking into the future, SAIC Motor will stick to innovation-driven transformation, further explore the deep integration of internet technologies and the auto industry, and vigorously strengthen its innovative and pioneering capacity as well as its core competitiveness, to empower itself and build itself into a “world-renowned auto company with an innovative spirit” as soon as possible.