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China's EV supply chain relies on global collaboration


Electric vehicles (EVs) have been a hot topic in the tech world and is also one of the five main themes of the first China International Supply Chain Expo in Beijing.

Dozens of industry-leading enterprises gathered in China's capital city to participate the ongoing expo, which will conclude on Saturday.

CGTN Digital visited the expo and checked out the suppliers behind these big gadgets.

Electric vehicles are often packed with massive batteries, and engineers have to reduce the total weight by replacing steel parts with aluminum alloys. As a result, the aluminum industry is now part of the supply chain. Some of the participated companies mine aluminum ores, some others smelt the ores into ingots, while the rest process the ingots into various parts that can be assembled into a car.

These companies are in no way big brands you hear from TV ads. But they are essential for every brand to deliver your vehicles.

"A traditional steel wheel is as heavy as 33 kilograms, but our product only weighs 11.7 kilograms, about 60 percent lighter," said Cui Jianjun, manager at Dalian Ketian New Material. "The strength and toughness remain the same. Customers are excited to see our products," he added.

Global effort

China is not alone in the supply chain of smart vehicles. Many big, global names have also joined this process. German supplier Bosch integrated hardware like chips and sensors from Europe with AI software from China to build a one-stop solution for autonomous driving targeting Chinese carmakers.

"We have already delivered the solution to some carmakers in China," Wang Juexin, a product manager at Bosch China, told CGTN Digital.

Besides consumer cars, many other types of vehicles also require an international supply chain to produce.

For a Chinese vendor like Tianyi Corp. to build an airport catering truck, they have to buy parts from across the world in order to make sure the final product meets clients' quality standard.

"(We choose suppliers) based on customer demand," said Ma Lie, head of international marketing at Tianyi Corp. "Our trucks run seven days a week, so quality is the priority."

Ma told CGTN Digital that nationality is not really considered when they choose suppliers, as there are many more critical things to consider, like quality, durability and price.

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