On the subject of eureka moments, I would say that I experienced one of my own when I went on a flying visit to automotive component and EV R&D and manufacturing facilities in Ningbo, Nanjing, Huia’an, and Huzhou in April last year.
My experiences on the trip taught me three important lessons. First, it showed me the seriousness with which China is working to build a world-class EV (Electric Vehicle) ecosystem spanning research and development, component manufacturing, vehicle assembly, and on-the-road deployment. This ecosystem covers smaller hinterland cities as well as the major metros and will be a major force for future economic growth as the EV market expands. China is already the largest manufacturer of EV cars and buses in the world, and its domestic market is dwarfs that of other countries such as the US. It’s inevitable that intense competition between its manufacturers will drive innovation and growth at a much greater speed and scale than in other markets.
Second, the clarity and enthusiasm with which the officials explained the strategies and objectives driving their EV initiatives demonstrated the strength of commitment at all levels of government are in making sure that the right physical, policy, and regulatory infrastructure in place to accelerate the transition to autonomous driving. The plans that are being implemented to make the new city of Xiongan autonomous-vehicle ready are the most well-known example of this. But even during my trip last year, I saw plenty of evidence of new roads being future-proofed for 5G installations.
Third, the outstanding work our engineers did in developing the brains for the self-driving EV bus that was launched by our partner, Enchi Auto, provided powerful evidence of our abilities to address the needs of autonomous vehicle market with our VIA Mobile360 systems and computer vision and Edge AI technologies.
Since that trip, we have been continuing to expand our engagement with EV manufacturers in China, most recently announcing our cooperation with the ADV (Autonomous Delivery Vehicle) maker Aisimba, as well as further enhancing our VIA Mobile360 system family to meet their evolving requirements. The potential for the China EV market is extremely bright. The opportunities it offers for companies throughout the world are very exciting.