epa02401078 Chinese technicians working on a truck assembly line in a factory in Shiyan city of Hubei Province in Central China, 19 October 2010. Shiyan city has been designated as 'China's Truck Capital' by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) on 17 October. It is the largest commercial production base for trucks in China and one of the three largest in the world. The city is strengthening efforts to increase its auto sales to 1 million units, and the total output value of its auto industry to 100 billion yuan by 2015. According to CAAM's prediction, China's auto sales will reach 17 million units in 2010, up 25 percent from a year earlier and the demand for vehicles in China will reach 25 million units by 2015.  EPA/HOW HWEE YOUNG *** Local Caption ***  02401078.jpg
Technicians assemble lorries in a factory in Shiyan, also known as China’s lorry capital. Nine of the top 10 commercial vehicle sellers are home-grown.

Foreign lorries' long road in China



The brand names of the cars sweeping by on Beijing's second ring road in the autumn sunshine are familiar all over the world - Volkswagen, Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota.

For all the ambitions of China's vehicle makers, the dragon economy's car industry remains dominated by foreign names, even if most of the vehicles are locally made through joint ventures.

With the lorries that are allowed to prowl through the city only at night, things could not be more different: more than 95 per cent of commercial vehicles sold in China are made by Chinese companies such as FAW, Foton, Dongfeng and Sinotruk.

Nine of the top 10 commercial vehicle sellers are home-grown with just one foreign name, Italy's Iveco, making it on to the chart through a joint venture. It is a similar story, albeit with different names, in some other major developing economies, such as India.

"Trucks packed with the kind of technology found in Europe are nearly impossible to sell in the up-and-coming markets of the East," said the analysis company AlixPartners in a recent commercial vehicle industry report summary.

The trump card for China's lorries is simple. They may not be advanced, much of the technology was bought from western makers more than 20 years ago, and they may not meet the emissions standards of developed countries. But they are cheap.

AlixPartners indicated Chinese manufacturers were making vehicles for half the cost of their European or North American rivals.

"The growth markets have very little need for the high-tech trucks made in Europe; trucks that can be operational around the clock and meet the highest safety requirements," the report quotes Vinzenz Schwegmann, a managing director at AlixPartners, as saying.

"What matters most is to manufacture reasonably priced vehicles with specifications tailored to the region involved."

Lorry buyers in China are mostly individuals who drive their own vehicles, says John Zeng, the director of Asia vehicle forecasting at JD Power and Associates in Shanghai.

Even the large logistics companies tend to hire private operators with their own vehicles. For such owner-drivers, price is key.

"For one Volvo, you can buy three local trucks and it's much more difficult to get your [foreign] truck maintained if you have a problem," Mr Zeng says.

"The durability is quite good. The Chinese-made local trucks, you can overload them. That's what drivers are looking for."

With the car industry, consumers are more heavily motivated by brand names and the most respected are foreign. Local brands tend to be cheaper but most drivers believe a better made, foreign-designed vehicle is worth the money for its prestige and quality.

"Most Chinese buyers care about their car's social status. It's about 'face'," Mr Zeng says.

Given that the cache of an overseas name counts for little in China's no-frills world of lorries, it is no surprise that foreign companies' attempts to break into the market have faltered.

In 2004, Volvo launched a joint venture with Sinotruk to produce the Swedish maker's lorries in China. But sales were poor and technical collaborations between the partners were limited as parts were imported from Europe.

It came as little surprise when the joint venture, supposed to last for 30 years, wound up last year.

Missing out on China is a major loss for the foreign lorry makers, since the market is vast and growing at a pace the West can only dream of.

In 2008, global lorry production reached 2.6 million before the global slump caused it to plunge to 1.7 million last year.

While demand and production dropped in Europe and North America last year, China increased the number of lorries it made by more than one fifth, producing about half of the world's total.

In the first half of this year the number of lorries rolling off China's production lines increased by a further three quarters, and by the end of the year the total is expected to reach 1 million.

Just as foreign manufacturers are struggling to make inroads into the Chinese market, they are being overtaken by Chinese-made lorries in many emerging markets, particularly Africa and South East Asia. Again, price is the main factor.

"Sales of Chinese trucks … are continuously strengthening in Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia," AlixPartners said.

The European producers are increasing their sales in some emerging markets as overall demand increases but their market share is declining.

In the first six months of this year, China exported 134,000 commercial vehicles, up 25 per cent on the same period last year. China's car makers saw their exports drop, with numbers falling 46 per cent last year to 369,600 compared with the previous year.

"The Chinese truck makers meet the basic standards of the developing countries and, in terms of cost, Chinese trucks are very competitive in these markets," says Mr Zeng.

The headaches for the western manufacturers may eventually extend beyond the lower-value end of the global lorry market.

Some observers have suggested the huge growth in sales at home and abroad would allow the Chinese manufacturers to invest in research and development with a view to competing with their western rivals at the top end of the value range, including in North America and Europe.

Some of China's lorry makers are also leveraging joint ventures with overseas manufacturers to gain access to advanced technology, just as Chinese car makers have done.

This will prove particularly useful as emissions regulations tighten in China and other developing markets and the earlier generation of less eco-friendly vehicles is phased out.

When his company signed a 50-50 joint-venture agreement this year with Daimler, the world's biggest lorry maker, the chief executive and president of Foton Motor Wang Jingyu was clear about what his side could gain.

"We plan to use Daimler Trucks's technological expertise in particular to further expand our commercial vehicle activities," Mr Wang said.

As they have little hope of beating the Chinese in their home country or in other emerging markets, some western manufacturers have decided the best strategy is to acquire stakes in their price-cutting rivals.

Midway through last year, the German-based lorry maker MAN bought a 25 per cent share in Sinotruk. The agreement allows Sinotruk to use MAN technology, which will come in useful as the Chinese manufacturer looks to improve its offering in developing markets.

From MAN's point of view, it means - for once - the company will no longer have to look on in horror as a Chinese lorry maker sees its sales figures go off the chart at home and all over the developing world.

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

The biog

From: Upper Egypt

Age: 78

Family: a daughter in Egypt; a son in Dubai and his wife, Nabila

Favourite Abu Dhabi activity: walking near to Emirates Palace

Favourite building in Abu Dhabi: Emirates Palace

Profile box

Company name: baraka
Started: July 2020
Founders: Feras Jalbout and Kunal Taneja
Based: Dubai and Bahrain
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $150,000
Current staff: 12
Stage: Pre-seed capital raising of $1 million
Investors: Class 5 Global, FJ Labs, IMO Ventures, The Community Fund, VentureSouq, Fox Ventures, Dr Abdulla Elyas (private investment)

Ibrahim's play list

Completed an electrical diploma at the Adnoc Technical Institute

Works as a public relations officer with Adnoc

Apart from the piano, he plays the accordion, oud and guitar

His favourite composer is Johann Sebastian Bach

Also enjoys listening to Mozart

Likes all genres of music including Arabic music and jazz

Enjoys rock groups Scorpions and Metallica 

Other musicians he likes are Syrian-American pianist Malek Jandali and Lebanese oud player Rabih Abou Khalil

PROFILE OF SWVL

Started: April 2017

Founders: Mostafa Kandil, Ahmed Sabbah and Mahmoud Nouh

Based: Cairo, Egypt

Sector: transport

Size: 450+ employees

Investment: approximately $80 million

Investors include: Dubai’s Beco Capital, US’s Endeavor Catalyst, China’s MSA, Egypt’s Sawari Ventures, Sweden’s Vostok New Ventures, Property Finder CEO Michael Lahyani

MATCH INFO

Manchester United 1 (Rashford 36')

Liverpool 1 (Lallana 84')

Man of the match: Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

The biog

Name: Abeer Al Shahi

Emirate: Sharjah – Khor Fakkan

Education: Master’s degree in special education, preparing for a PhD in philosophy.

Favourite activities: Bungee jumping

Favourite quote: “My people and I will not settle for anything less than first place” – Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

ALRAWABI SCHOOL FOR GIRLS

Creator: Tima Shomali

Starring: Tara Abboud, Kira Yaghnam, Tara Atalla

Rating: 4/5

Frankenstein in Baghdad
Ahmed Saadawi
​​​​​​​Penguin Press

Brief scoreline:

Wales 1

James 5'

Slovakia 0

Man of the Match: Dan James (Wales)

10 tips for entry-level job seekers
  • Have an up-to-date, professional LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, set one up today. Avoid poor-quality profile pictures with distracting backgrounds. Include a professional summary and begin to grow your network.
  • Keep track of the job trends in your sector through the news. Apply for job alerts at your dream organisations and the types of jobs you want – LinkedIn uses AI to share similar relevant jobs based on your selections.
  • Double check that you’ve highlighted relevant skills on your resume and LinkedIn profile.
  • For most entry-level jobs, your resume will first be filtered by an applicant tracking system for keywords. Look closely at the description of the job you are applying for and mirror the language as much as possible (while being honest and accurate about your skills and experience).
  • Keep your CV professional and in a simple format – make sure you tailor your cover letter and application to the company and role.
  • Go online and look for details on job specifications for your target position. Make a list of skills required and set yourself some learning goals to tick off all the necessary skills one by one.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach outside your immediate friends and family to other acquaintances and let them know you are looking for new opportunities.
  • Make sure you’ve set your LinkedIn profile to signal that you are “open to opportunities”. Also be sure to use LinkedIn to search for people who are still actively hiring by searching for those that have the headline “I’m hiring” or “We’re hiring” in their profile.
  • Prepare for online interviews using mock interview tools. Even before landing interviews, it can be useful to start practising.
  • Be professional and patient. Always be professional with whoever you are interacting with throughout your search process, this will be remembered. You need to be patient, dedicated and not give up on your search. Candidates need to make sure they are following up appropriately for roles they have applied.

Arda Atalay, head of Mena private sector at LinkedIn Talent Solutions, Rudy Bier, managing partner of Kinetic Business Solutions and Ben Kinerman Daltrey, co-founder of KinFitz

F1 drivers' standings

1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes 281

2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari 247

3. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes 222

4. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull 177

5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari 138

6. Max Verstappen, Red Bull 93

7. Sergio Perez, Force India 86

8. Esteban Ocon, Force India 56

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo

Power: 240hp at 5,500rpm

Torque: 390Nm at 3,000rpm

Transmission: eight-speed auto

Price: from Dh122,745

On sale: now

Safety 'top priority' for rival hyperloop company

The chief operating officer of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Andres de Leon, said his company's hyperloop technology is “ready” and safe.

He said the company prioritised safety throughout its development and, last year, Munich Re, one of the world's largest reinsurance companies, announced it was ready to insure their technology.

“Our levitation, propulsion, and vacuum technology have all been developed [...] over several decades and have been deployed and tested at full scale,” he said in a statement to The National.

“Only once the system has been certified and approved will it move people,” he said.

HyperloopTT has begun designing and engineering processes for its Abu Dhabi projects and hopes to break ground soon. 

With no delivery date yet announced, Mr de Leon said timelines had to be considered carefully, as government approval, permits, and regulations could create necessary delays.

SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September

SPECS

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 750hp at 7,500rpm
Torque: 800Nm at 5,500rpm
Transmission: 7 Speed dual-clutch auto
Top speed: 332kph
Fuel consumption: 12.2L/100km
On sale: Year end
Price: From Dh1,430,000 (coupe); From Dh1,566,000 (Spider)

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

Profile Idealz

Company: Idealz

Founded: January 2018

Based: Dubai

Sector: E-commerce

Size: (employees): 22

Investors: Co-founders and Venture Partners (9 per cent)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

TEAMS

EUROPE:
Justin Rose, Francesco Molinari, Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Alex Noren, Thorbjorn Olesen, Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson

USA:
Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth,​​​​​​​ Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau (+1 TBC)

MATCH INFO

Wales 1 (Bale 45+3')

Croatia 1 (Vlasic 09')

Bookshops: A Reader's History by Jorge Carrión (translated from the Spanish by Peter Bush),
Biblioasis

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

World Cricket League Division 2

In Windhoek, Namibia - Top two teams qualify for the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe, which starts on March 4.

UAE fixtures

Thursday February 8, v Kenya; Friday February 9, v Canada; Sunday February 11, v Nepal; Monday February 12, v Oman; Wednesday February 14, v Namibia; Thursday February 15, final

Australia (15-1): Israel Folau; Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Kurtley Beale, Marika Koroibete; Bernard Foley, Will Genia; David Pocock, Michael Hooper (capt), Lukhan Tui; Adam Coleman, Izack Rodda; Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Robertson.

Replacements: Tolu Latu, Allan Alaalatoa, Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Pete Samu, Nick Phipps, Matt Toomua, Jack Maddocks.