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Revolutionizing Mobility: Innovations and Rivalries Ignite at Beijing Auto Show


Robert Tavares

May 5, 2024 - 11:00 am


Fierce Rivalry and Innovation Unveiled at Beijing Auto Show

In the heart of Beijing, an automotive spectacle showcased a diverse range of vehicles, setting the industry abuzz. At the Beijing Auto Show, investment analysts identified several potential frontrunners poised to dominate the Chinese car market. The feverish competition among manufacturers was thrown into sharp relief over the 10-day exhibition.

The much-anticipated inauguration on April 25 witnessed an unprecedented deluge of enthusiasts and industry professionals, creating a bottleneck at the various pavilions. This departure from the usual ebb of crowds in previous years emphasized the event's soaring attraction. "The number of visitors this year was simply overwhelming," remarked Nick Lai, the lead for China equity and Asia Pacific autos research at JPMorgan, in a report during the latter part of April.

JPMorgan analysts observed a discernible increase in the presence of live-streamers and overseas dealers, reflecting the global reach of Chinese car brands. Notably, about one-fourth of BYD’s automotive profits are anticipated to arise from foreign markets this year. Likewise, Tesla, securing more than a fifth of its sales from China, did not partake in the main event following 2021’s disturbances but saw CEO Elon Musk make an unannounced visit to Beijing.

The analysts maintained that the current competitive landscape in China's auto sector is intense, with some 170 brands vying for market share as opposed to Europe's 80 brands. Such saturation results in less favorable economies of scale and poses the question of the viability of international and premium manufacturers competing in lower market segments amidst the transition from traditional combustion engines to battery electric vehicles.

A Showcase Accessible to All

The Beijing auto show transitioned from an exclusive industry and media affair to a public event after two days, igniting a battle among car companies to captivate consumer interest through various tactics. Porsche and Zeekr presented immersive Apple Vision Pro experiences, a technology yet to be released in China.

Japanese manufacturer Mazda and electric vehicle startup Nezha employed performers, augmenting their car displays with music and dance numbers, even incorporating an impromptu fashion show into the mix. This spectacle culminated with the onlookers being allowed to swarm the cars and entertainers, a dramatic end to the presentations.

Smart Cars for Smarter Futures

The event also featured Asensing, an autonomous driving supplier keen on absorbing evolving industry trends. Zhang Haizhou, the company’s senior brand and PR director, highlighted the demand for intelligent vehicles. He emphasized that more people will opt for smarter cars as their next purchase, underscoring the company's ambitions for global reach.

Over 110 new car models graced the auto show, according to event organizers. "Auto shows have become a marketing tool for top brands to gain traction via not only their products but vocal management," noted analysts at Morgan Stanley Asia Pacific autos.

In this vein, EV makers, particularly Xiaomi and BYD, emerged as clear standouts. Xiaomi's founder Lei Jun paraded the exhibition center after promoting the brand's new SU7 electric sedan, resulting in significant social media engagement.

Jefferies' auto equity analysts commended Xiaomi on its marketing prowess, integral to its roots as a consumer electronics giant, which was evident in the impressive delivery of over 7,000 units of the SU7 model in its launch month. Similarly, upbeat delivery figures were reported for Nio and Leapmotor, sparking a surge in Nio's shares by over 50% following mid-April.

Stimulating the Market Through Subsidies

China’s Ministry of Commerce has introduced incentives for trade-ins this year. In a bid to boost automobile sales, it announced that until the end of the year, select purchases of new energy vehicles and some fuel-powered cars could be eligible for subsidies exceeding $1,000.

These subsidies could propel the sales of passenger vehicles in China by a million units, evenly distributed between electric and gasoline-powered models. This move suggests a slight uptick in new energy vehicle penetration to 45%, a 1% increase from the previous estimate, indicated Jefferies’ analysts who are bullish on Leapmotor, Geely, and BYD, all listed in Hong Kong and receiving buy ratings.

In light of this upbeat forecast, JP Morgan's top picks echoed a belief in BYD and Leapmotor benefiting from governmental stimulus, while Geely and Xpeng could leverage the positivity of market sentiment in the near term.

The Tides Turn for Foreign Automakers

The focus on local manufacturers suggests foreign companies could be losing their foothold. Taking a candid stance, Volkswagen management conceded, ahead of the auto show, that they and other foreign OEMs may have misread shifts in consumer demand, thus lagging behind cost-effective, domestically produced competitors. Volkswagen aspires to maintain its premier position among foreign OEMs in China, despite dwindling market leadership.

Jefferies extended buy ratings not only to Volkswagen and their electric car partner Xpeng but remained cautious on Tesla and Toyota Motor, assigning them hold ratings. The apparent shift towards domestic preference reflects an intense competitive atmosphere exacerbated by evolving consumer expectations.

For more insights and the latest updates on the Beijing Auto Show and the highlighted reports from analysts, please visit CNBC, where seasoned financial journalist Michael Bloom contributes comprehensive coverage on the automotive industry's developments.

The Beijing Auto Show has indeed morphed into a strategic arena where technological advancements, marketing genius, and policy interventions combine to shape the future of mobility. Amidst the spectacle of power and innovation, the event's outcomes highlight the trajectories of key players in China's auto industry, poised at the cusp of global expansion and a new era of smart, electric transportation.

In sum, the 2023 Beijing Auto Show not only served as a platform for ground-breaking car launches and technological showcases but also as a litmus test for the industry's readiness to embrace an electrified future. As the world watches, it is clear that the events unfolding in the automotive sector have implications far beyond China's borders, setting the stage for a dynamic global market brimming with opportunity and competition.

With the fierce rivalry brewing in the backdrop, Chinese automakers have revealed their resilience and ingenuity, attracting investors, and consumers alike. As the industry transitions to more sustainable practices, the role of auto shows in marketing, public relations, and consumer engagement cannot be underestimated. These events are more than just exhibitions; they are battlegrounds where the future of automotive innovation and market dominance is charted in real-time.


The Beijing Auto Show has set a new benchmark for auto exhibitions worldwide. With over a hundred new launches, eminent analysts' insights, and government interventions, it profoundly reflects the evolving trends in consumer preferences and the unyielding spirit of competition among manufacturers. The global community now watches with great anticipation as the ramifications of these trends take shape, influencing market dynamics and offering up a glimpse into the future of the automobile industry.

The momentum gathered at the auto show promises a thrilling journey ahead for China's automotive sector. The enthusiasm for innovation, adept marketing strategies, and supportive trade policies are set to steer the industry along a prosperous route. Undoubtedly, the Beijing Auto Show has once again underscored the pivotal role such industry congregations play in steering economic strategies and consumer trends across the globe.