Home > Mission Headlines
Ambassador Zhang Ming and His Wife Visit Volvo's Car and Truck Plants in Ghent
2019/06/15

On June 12, 2019, Ambassador Zhang Ming, Head of the Chinese Mission to the EU, and his wife visited Volvo’s car and truck plants in Ghent, Belgium, accompanied by Xia Xiang, Minister-Counsellor for Economic and Commercial Affairs in the Chinese Mission to the EU. During the visit, they were given an introduction to the companies concerned and had a tour of the plants’ assembly lines.

At the car plant, Stefan Fesser, CEO for Ghent Plant at Volvo Cars, and Céline Domecq, Director of Government Affairs at Volvo Cars, talked briefly about the company’s business philosophy, product strategy, business in China, and the plant’s operation. Mr. Fesser said that a free and open trade environment is essential to the auto industry’s survival. The rising global trade tensions, the worrying China-U.S. and EU-U.S. trade disputes, and the pending Brexit have caused uncertainty in market demand and supply chain security for automakers. Nine years ago, the economic downturn in Europe plunged Volvo Cars into a plight and it was Geely’s investment that pulled it through. The two sides share market, financial, human, technology, and other resources, epitomizing the win-win cooperation between China and the EU.

At the truck plant, Frederique Biston, Senior Vice President at Volvo Group, and Philippe Jacqmin, Manager of the Group’s Ghent Plant, gave an introduction to the company’s course of development in China, its main lines of business and future plans. Ms. Biston noted that it has been 27 years since Volvo Group officially entered the Chinese market and it has collaborated actively with Chinese manufacturers of trucks, construction equipment, and marine and industrial engines, achieving win-win results. China is now the company’s largest market outside Sweden.

Ambassador Zhang said that Volvo cars’ safety, low carbon, and connectivity features are impressive, and the company should seize the opportunity presented by industry upgrading to scale new heights. China has a vast market and bright prospects for development. The Chinese auto industry is booming, while multinationals such as Volvo Group have strengths in brand building, managerial skills, and technological innovation. China applauds the closer cooperation between Chinese and European companies based on their complementary strengths. That will lay a solid foundation for the healthy growth of China-EU relations. China is a staunch supporter of free trade and economic globalization, and an opponent of trade protectionism and unilateralism. It will continue to advance reform and opening up, improve its business environment, and promote economic and trade cooperation with other countries. The Chinese government has introduced a series of major opening-up measures in recent years and unveiled a timetable for providing wider market access for foreign automakers. The growing openness of China means huge opportunities for foreign investors, including European companies. China, as always, welcomes foreign companies’ investment so that they can share the dividend of its economic development.

* * *

Volvo Cars’ Ghent plant is the largest car assembly plant of Volvo Car Group outside Sweden. It now has about 6,500 employees and has created 20,000 jobs indirectly for local people. Since Geely’s acquisition of Volvo Car Group in 2010, Volvo Cars has seen its business performance improve significantly and the plant has hired 2,000 more people.

Volvo Group is one of the world’s leading truck, bus, construction equipment, and marine and industrial engine manufacturers. The Ghent plant is its largest truck plant in the world. The company has been performing quite well in the Chinese market in recent years, with operations in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Jinan, Linyi and Shiyan.

Suggest to a friend:   
Print