Plan helps drive Great Wall Motor

Updated 2017-04-05 14:00:31 China Daily

Workers assemble SUVs at a Great Wall Motor Co Ltd plant in Tianjin. The automaker is benefiting from the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei integrated development strategy. JIA CHENGLONG / FOR CHINA DAILY

Great Wall Motor Co Ltd, one of China's major SUV manufacturers, has benefited from the national strategy for the integrated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province.

After President Xi Jinping initiated the strategy in 2014, transportation among the three neighbors has become more convenient.

Great Wall Motor is headquartered in Baoding, Hebei province, about 150 kilometers southwest of Beijing and 180 km west of Tianjin. The Tianjin-Baoding high-speed train came into operation at the end of 2015. It shortened the travel time between Tianjin and Baoding to about one hour.

The convenience helps companies such as Great Wall Motor to bring in skilled workers more easily from Beijing and Tianjin, which have abundant talent and research and development resources. Unlike companies that are encouraged to relocate from Beijing or Tianjin to Hebei, Great Wall Motor does not need to move and can enjoy the benefits of its location.

To attract and keep talented workers, Baoding is also making efforts to catch up with Beijing and Tianjin in terms of facilities, education and medical services.

“This year, Hebei will strive to narrow the salary gap between the province and Beijing and Tianjin,” said Yuan Tongli, deputy governor of Hebei.

Beijing is increasing the amount of quality resources it exports to its cities in Hebei, which can help attract workers from the capital to move there, where living costs are much lower.

Great Wall Motor sold 938,000 SUVs in 2016, seizing 10.4 percent of the domestic SUV market and retaining its No 1 position for 14 consecutive years. Zhang Wenhui, vice-president of Great Wall Motor, said the company's success is based on its technology and innovation.

In 2015, Great Wall Motor spent nearly 2.8 billion yuan (5.72 million) on R&D. To support such research, the company requires a significant inflow of top-level professionals: it now has more than 7,000 R&D-related employees.

The past three years witnessed great progress in the region's cooperation in innovation-driven projects, according to the company, which led one such project.

At the beginning of last year, Great Wall Motor and 14 companies from Beijing established an innovation center for developing smart vehicles and transportation.

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