CHINA - Car Revolution Going Global

Arno Froese

On a bright spring day in Amsterdam, car buffs stepped inside a blacked-out warehouse to nibble on lamb skewers and sip rhubarb cocktails courtesy of Lynk & Co., which was showing off its new hybrid SUV.

That’s the master plan of billionaire Li Shufu, who has catapulted from founding Geely Group as a refrigerator maker in the 1980s to owning Volvo Cars, British sports carmaker Lotus, London Black Cabs and the largest stake in Daimler AG—the inventor of the automobile. Li is spearheading China’s aspirations to wedge itself among the big three of the global car industry—the U.S., Germany and Japan—so they become the Big Four.

“They are in a better position now than they ever have been,” Anna-Marie Baisden, head of autos research in London with BMI Research, said of Chinese carmakers. “They’ve had so much time working with international manufacturers and have become a lot more mature.”

We’ve seen this movie before from China—in the smartphone industry. The nation used the shift in technology from basic flip phones to hand-sized computers to dominate the manufacturing industry, trouncing then-dominant makers from Finland, Sweden, the U.S., Japan and Germany.

Last year, three of the top five smartphone handset makers in the world were Chinese, according to Gartner Inc.

The most prolific buyer is Li, who spent almost $13 billion on stakes in Daimler and truckmaker Volvo. Tencent Holdings Ltd., Asia’s biggest internet company, paid about $1.8 billion for 5 percent of Tesla.

To juice those batteries, Chinese companies are leading the way in securing necessary raw materials like cobalt and lithium. Chinese companies make about 60 percent of the world’s refined cobalt, according to trading firm Darton Commodities Ltd.

“China has made no secret of its ambition to have a really big and powerful auto industry,” said Michael Dunne, president of consulting firm Dunne Automotive Ltd. in Hong Kong. “China does intend to lead and dominate the electric-vehicle industry.”

The Chinese government sees EVs as its best chance to seize global leadership in an emerging powertrain technology. Cleaning the notoriously smoggy air and reducing a dependency on foreign petroleum are bonuses.

China, already the world’s biggest vehicle market, overtook the U.S. as No. 1 for EVs in 2015. This week’s Beijing auto show will feature 174 EV models, with 124 of them developed domestically. China’s knack for speedy adaptation has put the country in a position to lead the auto industry in new technologies, Toyota Motor Corp.’s China Chief Executive Officer Kazuhiro Kobayashi said.

Western companies dominated for almost a century because they refined the internal-combustion engine. The electric motor threatens to erase that disadvantage, said Hu Xingdou, an economics professor at the Beijing Institute of Technology.

“NEVs can help China to become a global leader in the auto industry,” Hu said. “China and the rest of the world can now start from the same starting line.”

First in the blocks is Li, a 54-year-old former photographer who started his career with 2,000 yuan from his father and now has a net worth estimated at about $12 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

-www.bloomberg.com, 23 April 2018

Arno's commentary

Communist China, practicing American capitalism and European socialism, has become a major player in the global economy.

While the European world (West) developed the internal combustion engine, China now feels that this technology will age and be replaced with electric power; thus, they rightly assume all nations are on the same starting line.

Many ask, where will it all lead? The simple truth is: freedom, security, and global prosperity. It is remarkable that communist China is not involved in any “foreign wars”; instead, they are able to quickly develop products that the world needs and wants.

But there is more; the previous geopolitical boundaries are being erased. Merchandise is king.

This follows the line of Biblical prophecy fulfillment, for the world has to become one, very peaceful, secure and prosperous in order to finally unite culturally, economically, and religiously. Thus, the doors are being opened wide for the fulfillment of Revelation 13:8: “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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