Chinese EVs are establishing a foothold in the European market. The European Commission has said it will launch an anti-subsidy investigation on cheap EVs imported from China. EV suppliers said it is necessary for Chinese companies to develop overseas markets. However, the concern about data privacy, which has emerged in several sectors, will likely hinder their efforts.
As the world's largest automotive market, China hosts a large number of carmakers. That is why Chinese EV companies need to expand in foreign markets to gain traction. Moreover, going abroad will help the automakers work with international parts suppliers and seek further growth.
Chinese car companies expanding globally is an inevitable trend and not surprising. Suppliers said China-based customers made many requests aiming for exporting their vehicles, such as ensuring that the design or components meet the European and US markets' needs. The phenomenon becomes more evident in 2023.
Sources said Chinese automakers have ambition for the global market while knowing the right time had yet to arrive. As the EV industry scales up at an unimaginable speed, these companies know it is their turn to shine.
Whether European customers will become fans of China-made EVs remains to be seen. Suppliers said one of the factors is if buyers get an EV to reduce carbon emissions or enjoy the advanced services the vehicle offers.
For example, many Tesla buyers intend to receive innovative technology services, automotive driving and other features rather than drive an EV. These early EV adopters care about the new technologies the vehicle uses over the car's performance. Sources said this group still contributes to a certain level of EV sales nowadays.
According to suppliers, another factor for Chinese EVs to succeed in Europe is user experience. For China-based automakers, protecting consumers' data and privacy is more significant than fulfilling the market needs.
Sources said data is the foundation of the automotive CASE trend, mobility as a service (MaaS) and software-defined vehicles. China is one of the major players in the global data competition. When it exports cars to Europe, which emphasizes data privacy, it will face many challenges.
The concern over data privacy does not target China-based carmakers. Former Tesla employees once said the company's engineers will share and discuss footage shot from cameras on the vehicle. Renowned surveillance camera manufacturer and leading smart home technology developer in China also experienced data leaks or inappropriate use.
How Chinese carmakers use the data their vehicles gather will attract more attention as they enter the European market. Concerns about data privacy do not only apply to cars but also to charging stations and other equipment.