Chinese automaker Great Wall Motors opened its first European factory in Bulgaria in February. In an email interview, L. Jeremy Clegg, director of the Center for International Business at the University of Leeds, and Hinrich Voss, a research fellow at the center, discussed the prospect of Chinese firms relocating to Europe.
WPR: To what extent have Chinese companies relocated production to the eurozone, and what other projects are in the works?
Hinrich Voss: The evidence speaks against relocation of production by Chinese companies to Europe at this stage. While companies such as TCL, Haier, Hisense and Geely have opened or acquired production facilities in the European Union, these are not relocations. In all cases the aim was to expand production and secure access to technologies and distribution channels within the European economy. The same reasoning is true for investments outside the eurozone, such as Great Wall Motors’ recent investment in Bulgaria.