VW Finance Chief: China’s New Tech Innovations Rivals U.S.

China's Technology Innovations Beat U.S., VW CFO Says
A chip of Xilinx is displayed through a magnifying glass during the China International Import Expo (CIIE) (Photo: REUTERS)
Volkswagen AG
An employee holds a Volkswagen logo in a production line at the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg, Germany (Photo: Reuters)

The chief financial officer of Volkswagen, Frank Witter, said during an interview on Thursday that China helps in driving technological change in the automotive sector. He said that he was impressed by the rate of technological advancements coming from the world's second-largest economy.

Witter told CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe" that he thinks for the longest time we have been used to looking to the west coast of the United States when we were talking about innovation and new technologies. He added that this is still valid but at the same time you are absolutely right to point to China.

Witter also said that the motor shows in China year-over-year were just amazing how quickly the industry is progressing. He highlighted the development of China's original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The financial officer also said that the driver of technology in China and they are very pleased with the progress that they are making, together with their partners but also in Mobility Asia.

China and Volkswagen's relationship started in 1978 and, in 2017, the company formed a joint venture with the state-owned Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co. as it looks forward to e-mobility. Volkswagen set up the Mobility of Asia in May 2018. It is focused on connectivity, smart mobility ecosystems, infrastructure ecosystems, service and data monetization, and autonomous cars.

A range of technologies is now developed and tested as companies around the globe compete for autonomous driving. SK Telecom, a South Korean telecoms giant, signed an agreement at the end of April 2019 with the Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ) to develop the 5G-based self-driving infrastructure. The company planned to produce a high definition map that covers the whole IFEZ area. The company announced that their map will be built with "centimeter-level accuracy" and it will provide information that relates to road conditions, lanes, road slopes, and speed limits.

There is a race in the development of the 5G network globally. China's Huawei currently leads the race as it expands to other nations in Asia and in other continents. The 5G is a fifth-generation mobile network that promises incredibly fast browsing experiences which is beneficial to many industries including the autonomous vehicle sector since it has the ability to process a large amount of information and data simultaneously and quickly.

China's Huawei promotes its 5G technology to other nations. Recently, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the European Union to advertise the company and promote its Belt and Road initiative. The United States, however, advised other nations to ban the use of the Chinese tech in their 5G networks due to claims of espionage.

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