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BYD: Innovative tech leader develops electric vehicles, urban monorails

Links brand mission to national development goals

创新科技领导者开发电动汽车和城市单轨系统

接轨品牌使命与国家发展目标

 

Sherry Li

General Manager of Branding & Public Relations

BYD

比亚迪品牌及公关处总经理李巍

 

BYD is a global leader in rechargeable batteries and clean energy transportation, including electric vehicles, and monorails. Sherry Li rose rapidly after joining BYD, in 2005, as secretary to the chairman and president. Since 2016 she has served as General Manager of Branding & Public Relations.

比亚迪是充电电池和清洁能源交通(包括电动汽车和单轨列车)领域的全球领导者。李巍女士于2005年加入比亚迪,任职董事长和总裁助理,此后迅速晋升,于2016年担任品牌及公关处总经理一职。

 

COMPANY AND MARKET

公司和市场

BYD is such a diversified technology company, what is its unifying vision?

作为一家高度多元化的技术公司,比亚迪的统一愿景是什么?

We call our strategy, “Three Green Dreams.” These dreams, and business areas, are: solar power, energy storage, and electrified transportation. We would like to use these “Three Green Dreams” to achieve a zero-emission ecosystem for the whole society. Just last year we officially launched BYD Skyrail, a monorail system that we developed to address the problems created by China’s rapid economic development. Although this growth helped many people, it produced terrible pollution and traffic congestion. Skyrail is designed to solve these problems, with a more affordable option than subways for smaller cities, both in China and other parts of the world.

我们追逐“三大绿色梦想”,并因此制定了发展电动汽车、太阳能电站、储能电站三大产业的新能源战略。通过“三大绿色梦想”,我们期望为全社会打造一个零排放生态系统。去年,我们正式发布了比亚迪“云轨”,旨在解决中国经济快速发展所引发的一系列环境问题。尽管经济增长让许多人受益,却也带来了严重的环境污染和交通拥堵。而“云轨”的诞生正是为了解决这些问题,为国内外的小型城市提供比地铁更经济的交通手段。

 

How did the company develop so broadly from a focus on batteries?

比亚迪是如何从单一的电池业务走上多元化产业之路的?

Anticipating the growth of battery technology and the potential for electric cars, Wang Chuanfu, a chemist, established BYD in 1995. The company soon produced a concept electric car but focused on building its battery business. Initial customers included major phone handset suppliers, such as Nokia and Motorola. Because these businesses also needed components, such as keypads, BYD extended its technology expertise beyond batteries. With this initiative, BYD become a leading OEM supplier. To develop electric cars, BYD required a license from the Chinese government, which the company obtained in 2003, with its acquisition of a state-owned automobile company. Critics argued that electric cars still compromised the environment because the generation of electricity required burning fossil fuels. In response, BYD entered another business—solar power—with a presence at each phase of the supply chain. And the solar business led to the development of solar energy storage stations. Today, we divide the business into four linked industrial areas: IT, automobiles, new energy, and rapid transit.

预见到电池技术和电动汽车的发展前景,化学工程师王传福于1995年创办了比亚迪。公司很快造出了一辆概念电动汽车,重点放在电池业务上。比亚迪的早期客户主要为手机供应商,如诺基亚和摩托罗拉。由于这些企业也需要小键盘之类的部件,于是我们将技术能力拓展到了电池领域以外,随之成为领先的代工供应商。为了开发电动汽车,比亚迪又收购了一家国有汽车公司,于2003年获得了中国政府的造车许可。批评人士声称,发电需要燃烧化石燃料,所以电动汽车仍然会破坏环境。针对这种批评,比亚迪开发了全新太阳能业务,太阳能业务又带动了太阳能储能电站业务的发展,自此经营范围覆盖了供应链的各个环节。现在,我们将业务划分为四个彼此关联的产业领域:IT、汽车、新能源和轨道交通。

 

GLOBAL GROWTH

全球扩张

What are the key challenges for Chinese brands expanding abroad?

中国品牌进军海外市场时面临哪些关键挑战?

A Chinese company entering the global market needs to be cautious about the brand image. Ten years ago, a lot of Chinese manufacturers were first exploring the overseas market. For many Chinese companies expanding abroad the most important factor was the cost-performance ratio. After the products sold relatively easily, these Chinese manufacturers concluded that the overseas business was quite simple. However, they learned that they could not guarantee good after-sales service. That’s why overseas consumers had questions about products with the Made in China designation.

中国公司在进入国际市场时,需要谨慎塑造品牌形象。十年前,一大批中国制造商率先试水海外市场,大多采取了性价比至上的经营策略。正因为生意好做,这些中国制造商认为经营海外业务非常简单。但很快,他们发现自己无法保证良好的售后服务,也因此引发了海外消费者对“中国制造”的质疑。

 

How has BYD distinguished itself outside of China?

比亚迪是如何在海外市场脱颖而出的?

We were cautious when we entered the overseas market. We wanted to position BYD as an innovative technology company, different from other Chinese companies. We used our knowhow in high technology to fill gaps in overseas markets. For example, when we first entered the US market, around five years ago, we used electric buses to open the market because we had more advanced battery technology. Most competitors at the time produced buses with hybrid technologies. We also introduced our electric buses to Europe, Japan, and Singapore. This helped build strong BYD brand awareness.  When we first expanded abroad we looked for the products that could best represent the company.

进入海外市场时,我们非常谨慎。我们希望将比亚迪定位为创新技术公司,以区别于其他中国公司。我们运用自身的高科技专长来填补海外市场的空白。五年前,当我们首次进入美国市场的时候,市场上的大部分竞争对手生产的是混合动力巴士,而我们的电动巴士拥有更为先进的电池技术。我们还将我们的电动巴士推广到欧洲、日本和新加坡,为比亚迪打造了强大的品牌认知度。最初实施海外扩张时,我们就力图拿出最能代表公司形象的产品。

How does China’s Belt and Road initiative affect BYD?

中国政府的“一带一路”倡议对比亚迪有何影响?

We believe that the emphasis on Belt and Road in the 19th Congress is a good development. It should help our continued overseas growth. But BYD is already a global company, present on five continents. Over 200 cities outside of China have already expressed interest in our electric vehicles and solar and energy storage. We operate factories and offices in more than 10 countries. Our business is diversified and includes: business-to-consumer, our consumer vehicles in China; business-to-business, our buses and taxis; and we do business-to-government with projects like Skyrail, which are planned for the Philippines and Egypt.

我们认为十九大强调的“一带一路”战略对我们十分有利,必将帮助我们实现海外持续增长。比亚迪已经是一家全球性企业,业务遍布五大洲,有200多个海外城市对我们的电动汽车、太阳能和储能产品感兴趣。我们在10多个国家开设了工厂和办事处,多元化业务包括B2C业务-我们在中国生产消费性汽车;B2B业务 - 向企业提供巴士和出租车;以及B2G业务 - 为政府打造“云轨”这样的项目,云轨已计划出口到菲律宾和埃及。

 

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

企业社会责任

How important is social responsibility at BYD?

在比亚迪,社会责任有多重要?

In the 19th Congress, President Xi described how the main challenges of China have changed. People in China have a strong desire to pursue a better life. However, prosperity is not yet shared by all Chinese people. And a great disparity exists between those who have and have not benefited from China’s development over the past several decades. Our mission at BYD is to use our new energy technology to help people live a better life. Our corporate mission coincides with the national mission.

习近平主席在十九大上谈到,中国面临的挑战已经发生了变化。中国人民对于更美好的生活有着强烈的渴望。然而,中国人民还未能共同富裕、共享繁荣。中国过去几十年的发展,使受益群体与非受益群体之间产生了巨大差距。比亚迪的使命,是利用新能源技术帮助人们过上更好的生活。我们的企业使命与中国的国家使命不谋而合。

 

How does BYD help advance this agenda of building a more equitable nation?

比亚迪如何助力推进“建设更公平的社会”这一议程?

We use our technology and products to help solve China’s problems. Almost all our products are green, which is an important part of social responsibility. Electric vehicles still represent a small part of the total market, but the growth rate has speeded up over the past several years, in part because of BYD. Today, people often think of electric cars as transportation for the rich. BYD intends to provide affordable electric vehicles for all citizens. For example, in 2010 we introduced our electric taxis and they were met with skepticism. Some people were concerned that would run out of power and block traffic. Today, electrified public transportation is a national strategy. BYD will play an important role in the transition from gasoline-fueled transportation.

我们用技术和产品助力解决中国面临的问题。我们的产品几乎都做到了绿色环保,这是履行社会责任的重要体现。电动汽车仍然只占市场总量的一小部分,但其增长速度在过去几年已逐步提升,在这方面,比亚迪功不可没。今天,很多人仍然认为电动汽车是富人的专利。而比亚迪则致力于生产普通人可以负担得起的平价电动汽车。2010年,我们推出了电动出租车,却遭到了质疑 - 有人担心它会中途断电继而阻塞交通。现在,电动公共交通已经成为一项国家战略。比亚迪将在淘汰燃油交通工具、代之以电动交通工具的进程中发挥重要作用。

 

THE CAR CATEGORY

汽车行业

What would be the impact on BYD if Tesla were to enter China without a Chinese partner, as has been reported?

如果像媒体报道的那样,特斯拉在没有中国合作伙伴的情况下进军中国市场,会对比亚迪产生怎样的影响?

We respect Tesla. Without Tesla, the electric vehicle era will take longer to actualize. We warmly welcome more electric vehicle players into the Chinese market. The electric vehicle market is booming, but it is still very small. If you take the whole transportation market in China, the electric vehicle portion is less than 2 percent. We would like more players to work together with BYD to increase the electric vehicle market and ensure that more Chinese people can gain access to quality products.  BYD is the world’s largest maker and seller of electric vehicles. We enjoyed a 13 percent share of the electric vehicle global market last year. Tesla is number two.

我们对特斯拉充满敬意。没有特斯拉,电动汽车时代的到来将大为延迟。我们热烈欢迎更多的电动汽车品牌进入中国市场。电动汽车市场正在飞速发展,但规模仍然偏小,从中国的整个交通市场来看,电动汽车的占比还不到2%。我们希望更多品牌加入比亚迪的行列,共同努力,扩大电动汽车市场,让更多的中国消费者获得高品质的产品。比亚迪是全球最大的电动汽车生产商和销售商,我们去年的市场份额占全球电动汽车市场的13%,特斯拉位居第二。

 

Sales of Chinese brand cars in China exceeded 10 million for the second consecutive year. Do you see that trend continuing?

在中国市场,中国本土品牌汽车连续两年销量破千万,您认为这一趋势是否会持续下去?

I expect that this trend will continue, and sales of Chinese brand cars will grow. The SUV segment is especially strong. The quality of Chinese brand cars has increased a lot. The top priority of Chinese car buyers is quality. And the quality of Chinese and foreign brand cars is now comparable. And the design of Chinese brand cars has improved.

我认为这一趋势会持续下去,中国品牌汽车的销量会进一步增加,其中SUV车型的增长将尤为强劲。中国品牌汽车在质量上已获得长足的进步,而中国消费者的首要购车考量也正是产品质量。中国品牌汽车在质量上已经与国外品牌旗鼓相当,在设计上也有所改进。

 

A year ago, strong car sales were driven in part by the consumer rush to buy new energy cars before the government reduced its subsidy. How did car sales behave more recently?

一年前,汽车大卖的原因之一就是消费者纷纷赶在政府减少补贴之前购买新能源汽车。那么近期的汽车销售情况又如何?

For the first quarter of 2017, sales of electric vehicles in China were soft for two reasons. First, the government subsidy decreased. Second, and the main reason, is that after the government revised the subsidy it did not immediately explain the revised policy. The uncertainty impacted sales. Once the policy was clarified the sales pace resumed, indicating that many Chinese consumers still want to purchase electric vehicles even with lower subsidies. Also, BYD will soon introduce electric vehicles that are comparable in price to gas-powered vehicles.

2017年第一季度,有两大原因造成中国电动汽车销售疲软:第一,政府补贴下降,第二,也是最主要的原因,政府改变补贴政策后没有立即对新政做出解释,由此产生的不确定性影响了汽车销量。一旦政策明确,销量就恢复了增长,这说明尽管补贴减少了,许多中国消费者仍想购买电动汽车。比亚迪即将推出与汽油动力汽车价格相当的电动汽车。

 

BRAND BUILDING

品牌建设

How do you market and promote the BYD brand?

比亚迪是如何进行品牌营销和推广的?

 

We see brand as a kind of bridge between the company and the citizens. BYD’s brand mission is “Technological innovations for a better life” We need to communicate to several audiences. We use three approaches: social, traditional, and PR. Teenagers, our future customers, have new ideas and are very brave about saying what they believe. To reach teenagers, we communicate around hot topics on social media to build an emotional connection. To create awareness among the general public we use CCTV, billboards, and other traditional media. We use various PR tools, to reach opinion leaders, such as industry experts, investors, government officials, and media people. Overseas, we have Leonardo DiCaprio as our spokesperson. As the environment ambassador of the United Nations, he is a strong voice. We share the same vision about protecting the environment and confronting climate change. We collaborated on a campaign about cooling the earth by one degree.

我们将品牌视为公司与公众之间的桥梁。比亚迪的品牌使命是:用技术创新,满足人们对美好生活的向往。我们需要向几大受众群体传播我们的品牌信息。我们的三大传播渠道分别是社会传播、传统媒体和公共关系。青少年是我们未来的消费者,他们充满新想法,敢于表达自己的意见。为了让我们的品牌触及青少年群体,我们在社交媒体上围绕热点话题进行沟通,从而与他们建立情感联系;为了在广大公众中提高品牌知名度,我们利用中央电视台、广告牌以及其他传统媒体;我们还借助各种公关工具来接触意见领袖——如行业专家、投资人、政府官员和媒体人。在海外,我们邀请莱昂纳多·迪卡普里奥担任品牌代言人。作为联合国环保大使,他有着强大的影响力。我们在保护环境和对抗气候变化方面有着共同的追求,并联合发起了“为地球降温1°C”的活动。