A Closer Look at TEDA’s Industrial Chains: Automobile
The automobile industry is one of the dominant industries in Tianjin, a key industrial city in northern China. Tianjin is deeply involved in the automobile and new energy vehicle industry, actively promoting industrial transformation and upgrading. As the main carrier of Tianjin’s automobile industry, TEDA is accelerating its development. Various enterprises in the industry chain, including vehicle manufacturers and parts suppliers, continue to gather, reflecting the strong driving force of regional economic growth. How to focus on the new energy track and create a new ecological system for the industry chain has also become a crucial question for the automobile industry in TEDA.
Just like this young, internationalized industrial new city, the development of TEDA’s automobile industry is vibrant and robust, forming a hundred-billion-yuan industrial cluster. The area hosts three major vehicle manufacturers: FAW Toyota, FAW-Volkswagen, and Great Wall Motor, along with several world-class key parts companies such as Volkswagen Automatic Transmission, AISIN Transmission, FAW Toyota Engine, DENSO Electronics, and Kumho Tire. Together, they form a comprehensive industry chain covering automobile R&D, electronic devices, engines, transmissions, chassis, brakes, and piping systems. In 2021, the total output value of the automobile industry in TEDA reached 141.55 billion yuan, with an annual automobile production of 942,000 vehicles, accounting for over 95% of Tianjin’s total vehicle production.
As a national-level automobile and auto parts export base and one of the earliest National-level Demonstration Bases for Neo-industrialization, TEDA enjoys advantageous geographical transportation, national strategic opportunities, and a series of preferential policies. These factors, coupled with a strengthening innovation-industry ecosystem, have successfully attracted both domestic and foreign automotive companies to invest and establish factories in the region. A representative from the Korean company MOBIS acknowledged that besides benefiting from various preferential policies, the decision to settle in Tianjin was mainly due to TEDA’s geographical advantages, with Tianjin Port and other international transportation hubs providing logistics support for raw material imports and product exports.
In recent years, with the rapid rise of the financial industry in the region, taking into account the actual situation of the automotive industry, TEDA has built an automotive service industry ecosystem with a focus on automobile finance. Leading vehicle manufacturers like FAW, SAIC, Geely, Great Wall Motor, and Xpeng Motors, along with automotive logistics companies like Lionbridge, SF Express and Transfar, and third-party service providers like Didi and Guazi, have all established automotive finance and service institutions in TEDA. Together, they continually enhance TEDA’s automotive industry ecosystem.
A significant characteristic of the automobile industry’s development is the apparent role of leading vehicle manufacturers in driving the industry. TEDA, taking leading vehicle manufacturers as the driving force, witnesses a faster aggregation of auto parts enterprises, improving supply chains and promoting the accelerated gathering of talents and capital in the region.
Three Leading Vehicle Manufacturers Bring Tremendous Momentum to the TEDA Automotive Industry
FAW Toyota Tianjin Company was the first vehicle manufacturer in TEDA and, after more than twenty years of development, has become the omnibus headquarters of FAW Toyota, playing a pivotal role in the group’s strategic development. The company’s annual vehicle production capacity reached 620,000 units in 2022, accounting for 66% of FAW Toyota’s total vehicle production capacity. In addition to vehicle manufacturing, FAW Toyota has also established a comprehensive industrial system in TEDA, including research and development, key components such as engines, and essential supporting facilities. This has attracted a group of high-end automotive parts enterprises and various upstream and downstream companies in the industry chain to invest and establish factories in TEDA. As a first-tier supplier to FAW Toyota, Tianjin Intex Auto Parts Co., Ltd., also landed in TEDA and has drawn several material suppliers to set up facilities in the area.
In 2018, FAW-Volkswagen North China Base officially began production, bringing world-class automotive technology to TEDA and promoting the development of industries such as logistics, financial insurance, environmental protection, and energy in Tianjin. This marked a new period of rapid development for the automotive industry in TEDA. The base also places great importance on the localization of automotive parts production, with over 150 local suppliers in Tianjin.
Great Wall Motor Tianjin Haval Branch is the first vehicle production base located outside the headquarters in Baoding. It has production facilities for complete vehicles, engines, transmissions, interior and exterior components, as well as logistics export and living support areas in TEDA. The company has been deeply attracted by the successful integration of production and finance in TEDA and established the first private-capital-dominated automotive finance company in China. The company has injected strong impetus into the development of TEDA’s automotive finance industry.
TEDA Becomes a Preferred Destination for Global High-Quality Automotive Projects
As the automotive industry ecosystem continues to optimize, TEDA has become one of the preferred locations for global automotive projects. In recent times, the Faway Hella Tianjin production base project started construction, the German GRAMMER Group’s two major projects settled in TEDA, the Minth Group’s Northern China headquarters base project reached the topping-out stage, indicating the flourishing development of TEDA’s automotive industry. The influx of more high-quality automotive projects brings cutting-edge technology and experiences to TEDA, facilitating the upgrading and iteration of the regional automotive industry.
The relevant person in charge of Minth Group’s Tianjin factory stated, “The construction progress of the Northern China Headquarters Base project has exceeded expectations, and we are grateful for the support and assistance from the functional departments of TEDA.” Having settled in TEDA for twenty years, Minth Group has benefited from its first-class industrial environment and international business environment, which is also one of the important reasons for establishing its Northern China Headquarters Base in TEDA.
Currently, driven by the new generation of technological revolution, electrification, intelligence, and connectivity have become the mainstream trends in the automotive industry. How to expand new frontiers in this new track is a critical issue that TEDA and even Tianjin City urgently need to address.
Strengthening Top-Level Design for New Energy Vehicles
Tianjin considers the automobile and new energy vehicle industry as one of the key twelve industrial chains to develop. The city is enhancing its overall layout and has introduced a series of policy schemes, such as the “Action Plan for Promoting High-Quality Development of Manufacturing Industry in Tianjin” and the “Implementation Plan for the Development of New Energy and Intelligent Connected Vehicle Industry in Tianjin (2023-2027),” to support the development of new energy vehicles and intelligent connected vehicles.
TEDA deeply focuses on the new energy vehicle field and provides full support to FAW Toyota, FAW-Volkswagen, and Great Wall Motor – the three major vehicle manufacturers – to accelerate their transformation towards new energy vehicles. Additionally, TEDA leverages its hundred-billion-yuan industrial cluster for next-gen information technology, the Tianhe Digital Industrial Park, and a large number of domestic and foreign automotive research and development institutions to strengthen industry collaboration and accelerate the layout of core components for new energy vehicles.
TEDA’s Auto Companies Achieve Powerful Breakthroughs in New Energy Field
While diligently working on their strengths, TEDA has achieved one breakthrough after another in the key field of new energy vehicles. At the end of 2022, FAW Toyota’s new energy plant went into operation, marking a milestone in the electrification process of the Binhai City’s automotive industry. In 2023, Great Wall Motor Tianjin Haval Branch will launch two new energy vehicle models. In recent years, FAW-Volkswagen has introduced multiple hybrid models, and its supporting enterprise, Volkswagen Automatic Transmission, has made remarkable progress in the field of electrification. In 2019, Volkswagen Group’s first electric vehicle power motor, APP290, went into production in TEDA. In 2022, APP310 power motor went into production, and in early 2023, the APP550 electric vehicle drive motor project began in TEDA. These efforts will further deepen Volkswagen’s electrification process in China and promoting the transformation and upgrading of the TEDA automotive industry.
Vitesco Technologies Tianjin Co., Ltd. constantly maintains keen insight into new energy vehicle technology. In 2021, the Vitesco Technologies Asia-Pacific region’s hybrid and new energy vehicle system research and development center was put into use in TEDA. In 2023, Vitesco Technologies signed a strategic cooperation agreement with China Telecom and will turn its Tianjin factory into the first “5G + smart factory” in the Asia-Pacific region, further empowering the electrification process of automobiles in Tianjin and even Asia. “In the past three years, Vitesco Technologies has invested over 500 million euros in the electrification field in China and will continue to increase investments in China, especially in Tianjin,” said Cao Zhenqi, General Manager of Vitesco Automotive Electronics (Tianjin) Co., Ltd.
Recently, there has been good news in the field of power batteries. The Tianjin Capchem Semiconductor Chemicals and Lithium Battery Materials Project has been put into operation. It further improves TEDA’s electronic chemicals industry chain and supports the high-quality development of the power battery industry in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
Currently, TEDA is actively building an automotive electronics industrial park that integrates product research and development, manufacturing, testing, industrial incubation, and supporting services. Meanwhile, the area is continuously enhancing the intelligent connected vehicle technology innovation system, leveraging the cloud computing power of the National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin to provide high computing power and other support services for intelligent connected vehicles, further propelling the development of new energy and intelligent connected vehicle electronics to new high ground.