General Manager of European and North American Market, Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co., Ltd.
1. Compared with other overseas markets, what do you think are the characteristics of the European market?
Most of the internationally renowned bus brands are from Europe. Currently, Europe represents the development trend of bus technologies, and plays a dominant in formulating the standards of the world's bus industry. The export of Chinese buses to developed countries is an important sign to make Chinese buses “strong”, which is not only lured by the market volume in Europe, but also a necessary condition for building a world-class bus builder. The export of Chinese buses to Europe shows not only the quantity but also the strength on quality. The export of Chinese buses to Europe is helpful for the domestic bus brands to go abroad and extend to the high-end market which is of great benefit in exploring the markets in other areas.
2. What kind of difficulties and challenges the Chinese bus builders will face if they want to enter the European market?
Europe is the birthplace of the bus industry, the forefront of technical innovation of the bus industry and also the most competitive market of the bus industry. In recent years, Chinese mainstream bus builders are preparing for exploring the European market, but they have encountered difficulties from inside and outside China. On the one hand, the parts and components capability of meeting requirements, technical innovation capability, test & certification capabilities and so on in China’s bus industry still have a large gap with that of Europe. In contrast to the well-established parts and components supply system, technical innovation system, products test & certification management system, the China’s bus industry is lagging behind with a late start. On the other hand, the European regulatory rules and customer's preference are also a big challenge that we need to face. The supervision on emissions, safety, performance and other aspects of products are closely related with the pace of technical innovations, this is for Chinese bus builders a huge challenge in terms of the response speed. At the same time, customers’ preference to brands and products is also a key factor while entering the market.
3. Which strategy will be adopted by Yutong for the development of the European market?
Yutong’s strategy of exploring the overseas market, to put it simply, is “farming”, in other word, it means Yutong cares about the service and the service comes first than the market. Put the building of service network first and then begin to develop the market. Of course, we will investigate the local environment and customer habits before entering the market, which is what we called “self-reliance”. To manage and operate the market with the concept of “farming” enables us to gradually win the trust of customers and accumulate the potential sales opportunities. Meanwhile, Yutong adopts differentiated competitive strategy for different market segments, customers and orders. The cost performance acts as the breakthrough point in exploring the market to gradually establish the reputation and acceptance of the brand and ultimately operate the market in a long term via the brand's influence and charisma.
4. We all know there are many bus builders in Europe, including some world-class companies. What mindset do you have to face the competition with these leading brands?
As the birthplace of the world's automotive industry, the European Continent has a veil of mystery, which may make the Chinese companies hold a relatively conservative attitude towards this market. Despite all kinds of investment on certifications, the progress still looks implicit. Although the situation is understandable, our major competitors in different areas worldwide, besides a few Chinese bus brands, are mainly from Europe. In other word, even outside the Europe, the competition in other areas is still inevitable.
5. You have many years of sales experience in the European market. What is your deepest feeling during the process?
The European brands have sound sales and service networks in the local areas of Europe and represent the most sophisticated aspect of the world’s bus industry. A number of bus builders in Europe have powerful strength in terms of technology, service, sales, etc., which possess deep-rooted production and sales networks in Europe and are expanding their brands and influence through a variety of ways in other parts of the world. How to get them going for a long time apart from keeping their good product quality and service? This provides a good reference for Yutong who is emerging in the overseas market. The process of knowing the European market and the growing course of European brands itself is also a learning process. So my deepest feeling is keeping on learning and growing with an open mind,