Provinces across China are vying to attract electric vehicle companies and projects, positioning themselves to benefit most as China aspires to become a world leader in electric vehicle innovation.
The latest region to score big is the Guian New Area, a 1,795 square kilometer economic zone located near Guiyang city in sleepy Guizhou province. China's FDG Electric Vehicles plans to invest RMB5 billion (US$728 million) to build a car factory there. Korean car maker Hyundai Motor Co. has agreed to set up its first offshore big data center in the Guian New Area, which is expected to have a population of 900,000 by 2020.
Hyundai's big data center will analyze connected car data in collaboration with Hyundais domestic big data center in Uiwang, Korea to provide tailored service to Chinese users.
Hong Kong-listed FDG's factory is expected to start production by the end of 2018, with annual vehicle production value of over US$4.36 billion. It will also bring core electric vehicle battery technologies and 210 patents into its mass production there, according to an announcement.
Another province inking big deals is Hubei province in southern China. In December, the Wuhan East Lake High-Tech Development Zone agreed to establish a RMB10 billion (US$1.4 billion) joint venture fund with Chinese electric vehicle start-up NextEV to invest in new energy car production, research and development, as well as new energy vehicle supply chains projects.
The Yangtze River Industry Fund, a government guidance vehicle established in 2015 by the Hubei government to deploy RMB1 trillion (US$140 billion) to help support new emerging industries in the region, is also part of the alliance. The joint fund aims to invest in up to RMB30 billion worth of projects in smart and electric vehicle projects, including new car development, research, testing and auto parts.
Founded in 2014 by Chinese auto portal Bitauto chairman Li Bin, NextEV reportedly raised capital from Singapore's Temasek Holdings and global private equity giant TPG last year.
Last month, Nanjing Economic and Technological Development Zone, located in the capital city of China's eastern Jiangsu province, signed a deal with Tencent and Foxconn-backed Chinese electric car start-up Future Mobility Corporation Ltd. on a RMB11.6 billion (US$1.7 billion) investment to build a new factory there.
Nanjing city reportedly promised regulatory support to help Future Mobility obtain a license for electric vehicle production. The city is also ideally positioned in the Yangtze river delta with rich resources in auto supply chain and convenient transportation. The planned project is expected to have the capacity to produce 300,000 cars a year eventually and is targeting to complete first phase of construction in 2019.