Move marks firm's official entry into the country as part of efforts to expand global presence
Chinese major automaker SAIC Motor announced on late Monday plans to set up a manufacturing joint venture in Egypt.
The move marks the company's official entrance in the African country, a sign of its accelerated steps in global expansion.
The company will establish a joint venture to manufacture MG series cars in cooperation with a leading Egyptian car dealer, the Mansour Automotive Group, after both sides signed off on a partnership to sell such cars in the region last year.
"SAIC will bring proactively our new products, technologies and models to the Egyptian market to provide local people with more high-quality and localized products and services," said Chen Hong, chairman of SAIC Motor.
The automaker said Africa is the next key focus area for SAIC in beefing up its international presence. With a population of 1.2 billion, the market only saw 1.2 million in car sales last year, with a huge potential to develop in the years ahead, it said.
In 2018, SAIC had formed a joint venture with Mansour Group to sell and promote MG series cars in the Egyptian market, making the Egyptian firm the exclusive distributor of such products in the country.
Ankush Arora, chief operating officer at Mansour Automotive, disclosed that the MG ZS all-electric SUV will be launched soon in the next few months, and this will be the first batch of local electric vehicles in the North African nation.
Unlike most Chinese carmakers, the Shanghai-based company has a wide presence in the international market. It has set up three vehicle manufacturing sites in Thailand, Indonesia and India, 93 component bases overseas, and 12 regional marketing service centers in regions such as Europe, South America and Africa.
In Thailand, its MG ZS cars soon became a hit among young consumers. Embedded with its i-SMART system, the trendy car allows customers to verbally command the car.
Last year, the company sold and exported 277,000 vehicles to overseas markets, up 62.5 percent year-on-year, topping other Chinese carmakers for the third consecutive year.
Smart and connected cars are a development priority for SAIC Motor. It established an AI lab last year to ramp up efforts in artificial intelligence technologies in vehicle design and manufacturing.
Since 2013, SAIC has also tested intelligent driving in closed laboratories, roads, expressways, underground parking garages and other designated areas. The vehicle testing distance totaled 400,000 kilometers by the middle of last year.
"The global automotive industry is entering an era of revolution and innovation. Only companies that seize the opportunity and trend can survive and stand out," Chen said earlier to China Daily.