China wants its electric-vehicle industry that supports hundreds of car makers to consolidate and strengthen its business, the country’s top auto industry regulator said Monday.
“The number of new-energy vehicles companies is too big, and the industry is full of small players and fragmented,” Xiao Yaqing, minister for industry and information technology, said at a news conference on Monday.
Beijing would encourage electric-car makers to merge and restructure, as the industry requires more investment in advanced technology, he said.
By early 2019, there were 635 companies making new-energy vehicles, including electric cars, according to official data. However, only 80 companies put out cars by the end of that year, according to state media Xinhua News Agency.
EVs have become a pillar for the growth of China’s auto market, as well as for achieving Beijing’s climate and emissions goals. In the first eight months of 2021, sales of electric cars more than tripled to 1.48 million units, data from the China Passenger Car Association showed, compared with a 17.1% increase for the overall auto market.
China is now putting a new focus on solving key technological bottlenecks, with the MIIT requiring that EV makers improve the range and intelligence of the vehicles as well as charging safety.
The global semiconductor shortage is likely to last longer and will continue to pose a challenge to China’s auto industry, said Tian Yulong, a spokesman at the MIIT. The Chinese government will work to address the problems with alternative solutions, support chip makers in expanding capacity and cooperate with foreign suppliers, he said.
Last week, China’s top market watchdog fined three auto-chip dealers for driving up prices and pledged to crack down on illegal practices such as hoarding and price gouging.
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Corrections & Amplifications
This article was corrected at 0737 GMT to reflect an attribution that was made by Tian Yulong. The original article said the comment was made by Xiao Yaqing.