During our stay in Shanghai, we visited the Ford Motor Company in the city of Shanghai. We met with Tang Jie, the Government Relations for Ford Motor Company in China who gracefully welcomed us and spoke with us about the company’s successes and challenges in manufacturing cars in China.
During the meeting, we discussed the different goals of important stakeholders in the story. The Chinese middle class represents a growing consumer base that appreciates safety, quality and performance in their cars. On the other hand is the national Chinese government that wants to encourage the continued economic growth in every front including car manufacturing. However, this goal has faced some challenges including government own car companies that have been producing cars that have failed to keep up with the needs of their customers. This failure has opened up opportunities for multinational car brands like the Ford Car Company whose brand has found a warm reception by Chinese consumers. On the other hand, many local governments have been warm towards multinational car companies as they represent jobs and economic growth for their region. On the other hand, the SOSs have fought to keep multinational companies at bay fearing competition.
During the meeting with Tang Jie, we spent a good amount of time discussing the joint venture requirement that Ford Company has to obey along with other non-Chinese car companies in China. This rule was implemented by the national government to facilitate technological transfer between local and multinational car companies. In the basic sense, for the Ford Company to do manufacture cars in China it has to partner with a Chinese car company. The joint venture is fiercely advocated by SOSs because it allows them to gain financially whether or not technological transfer actually takes place.
Considering the predicted growth of demand in Asia, the Ford Company is sure to attempt and stick around in China despite the challenges the 50/50 venture or other limitations. However, considering how new (less than a decade) these economic partnerships are, only time will tell the long-term successes or failures.