GM China boss full of praise for city's business environment

Zhu Shenshen
Shanghai has set a leading example for a headquarters economy in the country, says company president Julian Blissett.
Zhu Shenshen
GM China boss full of praise for city's business environment

GM, which has partnered with SAIC Motor since 1997, said Shanghai is now a "powerhouse" for the company on design, engineering, manufacturing, sales and adjacent businesses, including finance.

Shanghai's vibrant and friendly business environment, and open-minded and tech-savvy consumers, bring General Motors opportunities and growth in China, said Julian Blissett, General Motors executive vice president and president of GM China.

The GM China head shared his views at Cadillac House in Jinqiao region, an area displaying various Cadillac models and GM's latest technology innovations, design and materials.

"The Cadillac brand leads GM's electric intelligent connected vehicle development and honors our commitment to bringing the most advanced solutions and products to China," Blissett said beside a Cadillac 1955 Eldorado model.

"Shanghai, as a global technology and innovation powerhouse, is where we will unleash the full potential of the once-in-a-century automotive technology revolution," he added.

Shanghai has a vibrant business environment, driving China's economic development and ramping up its international influence since the country's opening-up and reforms with foreign investment. It has set a leading example for a headquarters economy in the country, Blissett said.

Shanghai represents China's traditional automotive industry strength. Since 1997, GM has had one of the strongest and most enduring partnerships in the global automotive industry with SAIC Motor. Today, the city is a "powerhouse" for GM on design, engineering, manufacturing, sales and adjacent businesses, including finance, the company said.

The Shanghai-based GM China Advanced Technical Center leads cutting-edge projects to redefine future mobility. The Cadillac plant in Jinqiao, launched in 2016, features state-of-the-art green manufacturing and high assembly flexibility. It has set a benchmark for GM's global manufacturing standards and is fully capitalizing on China's consumption upgrade. In 2020, GM became the first global automaker to offer a postdoctoral program in China, deepening the GM China Science Lab's long-term academic-industry collaboration.

Blissett defined GM's strategies in China in keywords such as sustainability and intelligence. Shanghai, as a trendsetter for cleaner, safer and more sustainable transportation in China, will play a key role in the company's drive toward zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion through electrification and intelligent connected driving, he said.

In detail, GM develops next-generation EV programs enabled by the Ultium platform, with Shanghai's research team involved with a highly localized manufacturing and supply base.

GM recently announced the increase of its global investment in EV and AV programs to US$35 billion between 2020-2025. GM's joint venture battery assembly center and vehicle plants in Shanghai will be retooled to fully support its steady rollout of EVs. More than 20 of GM's 30 global EV entries through 2025 will be launched in China, Blissett said.

Local consumers are "open-minded and tech-savvy," which brings opportunities to GM, he said.

"We are now actively working on next-generation ICV solutions in Shanghai with the aim of achieving door-to-door autonomous driving in the future," Blissett said.

He called it "an exciting time" for the automotive industry. GM is cooperating with local partners like Baidu, AutoNavi and SAIC on autonomous driving, at various autonomous levels.

In cities like Shanghai, intelligent connected driving can greatly improve traffic efficiency and road safety, especially in urban areas with driving complexity 50 times greater than in suburban areas.

GM is looking forward to receiving approval to test its ICV solutions on Shanghai's public roads in the future. This will not only accelerate the company's learning curve but also drive social engagement for new technologies to build confidence and trust, according to GM.

Through deeper and closer interaction with local communities, GM will reinforce its "in China, with China, for China" commitment to overcome real-world challenges and deliver real-world benefits.

This week, GM will participate in the China International Import Expo (CIIE) for the fourth consecutive year. Blissett called it "a unique platform" to introduce products, services and concepts to Chinese consumers, explore new market segments and meet Chinese consumers' increasingly diverse needs.

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