SHANGHAI, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- Sweden-headquartered industrial titan Atlas Copco Group will stay committed to consolidating its presence in China to tap the enormous potential of an increasingly smart and green industrial sector, according to the group's CEO.
"China is leading, not following, in so many sectors. We need to follow the leaders to make sure that we have the presence and that we work closely with them," Mats Rahmström, president and CEO of Atlas Copco Group, told Xinhua in an interview during his recent trip to China.
Unlike his previous visits to China since 2003, Rahmström brought the company's board members with him this time to offer them a first-hand observation of the vibrant market. They visited the China headquarters in Shanghai and the Chinese manufacturing hub Wuxi City, where the company is expanding investment in compressor production and R&D.
Atlas Copco Group, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, entered the Greater China market in the 1920s. Now, it has 46 enterprises, 16 manufacturing facilities with own R&D, and one high-tech R&D center in China.
"In the beginning, China was just the import market of our products. Now it's a complete hub," Rahmström said.
From offering the joining equipment and solutions to the manufacturing of automobiles and semiconductors to developing pneumatic devices for infrastructure construction and medical use, the company is offering an array of innovative products and services to empower China's emerging sectors based on its expertise in compressor, vacuum, industrial, and power technologies.
Regarding the Chinese market, "the number one thing that comes to my mind is speed," said Rahmström. "The speed of development and the speed of innovation."
Rahmström is particularly impressed with the rapid rise of China's automobile sector, especially the EV market. "In Shanghai, I can see the green number plates everywhere now," he said. "Two years ago, I had never seen a Chinese EV in Sweden, but today, it's advertising every day."
"Size" is the second term that Rahmström chose to describe the Chinese market, which boasts enormous market demands thanks to its over 1.4 billion population.
China is the group's largest market in Asia and the second-largest market globally.
He pointed out that the Chinese market also has "a very international role." "In the past, we were focusing on China due to China, but now we also see that China has a strong influence on the rest of Asia."
Rahmström is very upbeat about the Chinese market's "future potential." For Atlas Copco Group, which has set its own science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, China's pursuit of sustainable development means a vast pool of business opportunities.
"If you're going to see more electric vehicles, more hydrogen, and more liquified natural gas, then we play a very important role as an enabler for these new technologies," he said.
Atlas Copco Group will continue to step up investment in China to boost local presence and R&D to bring innovation, cost savings, better quality, and more speed for customers to "be relevant" in the Chinese market and beyond, according to Rahmström.
"For a company, in some sense, if you're not number one in China, then you cannot be number one in the world," he added.