Dekra Group, a German testing, inspection and certification group with more than 48,000 employees globally, will expand its laboratory space in Hefei, Anhui province, to serve the rapidly expanding information technology, household appliances and electric vehicle industries in China's eastern region, said a senior executive.
Many opportunities come from China's moves in pursuing sustainable growth, the introduction of foreign trade and consumption stimulus packages and rapid industrial upgrading pace, said Mike Walsh, executive vice-president of Dekra and the group's head of the Asia-Pacific region.
Attracted by fast-growing industries like information technology and electric vehicle manufacturing, the Stuttgart, Germany-based group will increase its investment in inland cities, including Wuhan, Hubei province, Xi'an, Shaanxi province, and Chongqing municipality in the coming years.
"These cities have strong industrial and educational resources from excellent universities that can support both our market and recruitment needs," said the executive, who visited several Chinese cities to seek new business opportunities in March this year.
With China entering a new era of green and innovation-led growth, Walsh said that the country has made great efforts to support industrial and business development. The German company has benefited considerably, especially in areas such as renewable energy, automotive manufacturing and green development, as well as high-tech fields, such as semiconductors.
China's auto industry certainly has been heading in that direction — the country shipped 994,000 vehicles to other parts of the world in the first quarter, soaring 70.6 percent year-on-year, while new-energy vehicle exports more than doubled to 248,000 units, data from the Beijing-based China Association of Automobile Manufacturers showed.
Given China's growing export volume, fast industrial upgrading and the latest opening-up measures, Walsh predicts that Dekra's sales revenue will soar up to 20 percent on a yearly basis in China this year.
Since China has become a major player in the renewable energy market and is already the world's largest producer of photovoltaic products, Dekra opened a renewable testing center in Shanghai last year. It is also working with a number of domestic companies in the fields of energy storage and hydrogen energy to enhance its innovation strength.
As the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership pact has created favorable conditions to spur foreign trade and investment activities, Walsh said that export-related testing and certification services account for more than half of international testing, inspection and certification businesses in China.
Free trade agreements will undoubtedly boost China's import and export significantly, providing important potential growth for our company, he added.
"For example, we plan to use the technological capabilities accumulated in China to develop our operations in Southeast Asia," said Walsh, adding that the RCEP pact is well aligned with their overall development plan for the Asia-Pacific region in terms of market and business management.
China's imports and exports with other participating countries of the RCEP rose 7.3 percent on a yearly basis to 3.08 trillion yuan ($445.65 billion) between January and March this year, accounting for 31.2 percent of its total foreign trade, according to the General Administration of Customs.
Established in 1925, Dekra to date has built a market presence in more than 60 countries and regions across the world. Supported by more than 2,000 employees, the company currently runs testing facilities, laboratories and offices in 14 cities in the Chinese mainland, including Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Jiangsu province and Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.
China's testing, inspection and certification market will experience rapid growth in the years ahead, primarily due to the government's efforts to boost the growth of sectors including transportation, energy, retail and construction, said Lin Meng, director of the Modern Supply Chain Research Institute, which is part of the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.
As many developed and developing countries require testing results and certificates issued by authorized international agencies, China has already implemented favorable policies to facilitate global players to establish operational facilities and encouraged them to add investment, Lin said.