Around the international Auto Shanghai Show this year, further car centered events have taken place. The first Car Symposium Shanghai at Tongji University under the headline “Success Factors in the World’s Largest Automotive Market”, organized by University of Duisburg-Essen Center Automotive Research, was one I have participated in as speaker. The leading topic was: how digitization will drive future mobility with focus on Chinese market as one of the most open to digital innovations.
In China we are facing a highly progressive digitization of everyday life. With more than 670 million internet users – nearly half of the country’s population – China is accounting for almost a quarter of the world’s internet users. And Chinese internet users are surfing more and partly due to different market players different than western ones: The pendant to ebay & amazon, Alibaba’s Taobao is used by 230 million customers on regular basis and Weibo as counterpart to twitter has 198 million active users. Chinese market players are starting to overrule the western ones. WeChat has already over 100 million users outside of China (out of 549 million active users) challenging WhatsApp with over 800 million user worldwide and search engine provider Baidu – the Google competitor from China – is currently supporting German automakers in software development for navigation and connectivity.
Automotive clients are more and more utilizing on ubiquity of internet, expecting access to any information when and where they need it, striving for autonomy. They are focused on convenience and efficiency in their lives. They are used to easy access and simple interaction with tech. The future mobility need to fit exactly in the changing customer behavior and his expectations.
Digitization is challenging the way we buy, drive and own cars. New sales models are increasing customer experience and brand interaction. Car to X communication and interconnectivity is making driving not only safer, but changes the role of the car from a driving vehicle to just another – or the central – device in live of a digital native.
Different car sharing options allow easy access to mobility. Owning a premium car is still an expression of status in the society, but this is being challenges but different mobility options, such as community car sharing, which allows a kind of “upward”-mobility, e.g. up to five people are sharing a premium car and using it exactly like an own one.
Eventually, new market players are challenging the “old economy”. Leading tech companies are pushing new technologies, challenging the status quo and the whole automotive industry.
Auto manufacturers need to be more customer centric than ever. As car manufacturers don’t want to lose their brand appeal to tech firms – they need to make their greatest change since automobile invention.
What can car manufacturers do to ensure surveillance in times of rising costs and growing customer expectations of quality and engagement? Here some suggestions:
- acknowledge China as most digital open market and use it as pioneering market for future innovations
- learn from tech companies and competitors
- seamlessly integrate products and offerings into consumer’s everyday lives.
Only these manufacturers will stay in market, which are able to fully integrate a car into consumers live, seamlessly and adapted to their mobility needs.
The mobility of tomorrow will be easy to use (self-driving), user friendly (convenient) fully connected and available on-demand when and where needed.
We are looking forward to it and supporting our clients in mastering the upcoming challenges.
Link to Chinese press release: http://chinese.car-symposium.com/index.php?id=239
Latest posts by Rainer Mehl (see all)
- Digitization from California, Diesel from Germany? – Are German car manufacturers in a credibility crisis? - 29. October 2015
- Connected Vehicles: The treasure trove of data - 21. October 2015
- Rethinking on the way to world’s No. 1 in automotive business - 15. October 2015