Foreign Investment in China’s Self-Driving Car Sector
China will be too big for international autonomous car suppliers and service providers to ignore. Biggest automotive market, continued strong growth, right infrastructure, ability for government to implement, early adopter consumers, popularity of car sharing and sharing economy, new and innovative companies on the rise all point to China being pivotal to the development of autonomous cars. For international companies, China will be a major opportunity but also a major challenge. In addition to business competition international companies will also have to contend with regulatory controls in China and in particular restrictions on foreign investments in specific sectors. International companies already with a presence in China are deepening their footprint in China to ready themselves for the new opportunities that autonomous vehicles will provide. For many this will involve setting up their first Joint Ventures (even if they have had wholly foreign owned enterprises for decades in China) or by cooperating with domestic companies that have expertise or licenses in restricted sectors. There will be opportunities for wholly foreign owned enterprises but these are unlikely to be the most important or lucrative businesses. Accordingly for many investors success will necessitate working with Chinese partners–whether they be fellow shareholders or cooperative partners.