Bosch is continuing on its growth trajectory in the Middle Kingdom. The supplier achieved sales of 14.9 billion euros in China in 2017 – a double-digit increase year on year. Bosch is also continuing to expand its presence in the country, and opened a new plant for infotainment systems in Wuhu.
Today, Bosch employs more than 60,000 associates in China, which is its largest market outside Germany. Roughly 30 percent of the supplier’s worldwide sales come from Asia Pacific, and over 60 percent of this is generated in China. The company also sees good long-term opportunities in the region, especially in the Chinese market. For the current year, Bosch expects to outperform the local market, albeit at a more moderate rate.
Bosch has been present in China since 1909, and focuses on strong localization in all areas. In addition to local partnerships, the focus is on local manufacturing and research and development for the Chinese market. With the new location in Wuhu, a city in China’s Anhui province, Bosch is continuing this successful strategy. On a surface area of 18,000 square meters, infotainment systems, instrument clusters, and connectivity control units (CCUs) for vehicles will be manufactured for the Chinese market. By the end of 2018, the new plant will employ around 900 people – 160 of them in research and development. Bosch invested around 36 million euros in this plant, which will expand its local expertise in connected mobility. Just this March, the Bosch Group signed a strategic alliance with the infotainment startup Banma, a joint venture between Alibaba and the Chinese automaker SAIC. In the future, Bosch will continue to develop new digital displays, voice support, haptic feedback, and other HMI technologies.
In total, Bosch has invested more than 4.6 billion euros in its Chinese locations over the past ten years. In 2017 alone, the sum was almost 840 million euros – nearly one-quarter more than in the previous year. In Wuxi, the company has begun construction of a new mobility solutions facility, which will be the world’s first manufacturing facility for 48-volt batteries for electric cars. In early 2018, the power tool factory in Chengdu was expanded. In November 2018, the first Bosch iBooster manufacturing site in Asia Pacific will be officially inaugurated in Nanjing. Also this year, the second phase of the automotive electronics plant in Wujin, Changzhou, will be completed. Additionally, it is planned to open a center for artificial intelligence in China in 2018.