SHANGHAI — Robert Pallash, vice president and general manager of Visteon Corporation’s Asian Customer Business Group (CBG), recently spoke at the Automotive News China Congress in Beijing, where he emphasized five keys to success for operating in the Chinese automotive market.
Speaking to an audience of vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and other automotive industry representatives, Pallash cited five key elements to winning in China:
Develop a robust strategy — Having a sound business strategy — with adaptability and flexibility to the changing market situation — can be the difference between success and failure in this dynamic market. This includes determining what kind of presence a company wants in China, identifying thetarget market and considering whether to compete on the basis of cost, technology or both. “Companies need to carefully evaluate their own competitive positions and decide what will fit their corporate strategies and business plans,” Pallash said.
Build strong local capabilities — Having strong local capabilities in China is imperative for product development, account management, manufacturing operations and supply base, Pallash noted. For instance, Visteon’s relationship with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) has helped establish and foster a very successful joint venture – YanFeng Visteon – for product development capabilities in the region.
Cultivate an understanding of the market and culture — “It begins with understanding what consumers in China want,” stated Pallash. “Suppliers and automakers competing in the Chinese market have to be very concerned with technology and details, and execution must be flawless. Visteon follows a very disciplined approach to understanding the needs of the customer and the customer’s customer — with every program we pursue.”
Act with speed — Anyone who has conducted business in China recently knows that things happen very quickly in this market. “The ability to act and react with speed is essential,” Pallash said. “Opportunities come and go quickly here.” Pallash stressed that speed is critical in virtually every aspect of doing business in China including: setting up joint ventures, identifying and hiring local talent, designing and engineering products, obtaining materials and parts from suppliers and preparing and executing shipment of products for export.
Align with proven partners — The final piece of operating for success in China has to do with partnerships. “To be successful in China, you must identify and align yourself with strong partners. Selecting the wrong partners can quickly negate the progress you’ve made by following the other four steps,” Pallash said. “Partnering with the appropriate customer or competitor can provide a competitive advantage and may yield significant business results,” he added.
“All of us are intrigued and excited about the tremendous growth opportunity in China,” said Pallash. “One thing to remember is that rapid growth means rapid change. What’s true today as the basis for creating a business model in China may not be valid in a few years — or even months — as this dynamic market continues to evolve at a breathtaking pace. What is certain is that this market offers a multitude of choices for companies eager to establish a foundation for success. At Visteon, we continue to build on more than a decade of presence in Asia Pacific and look forward to what thefuture holds.”
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