China’s Car Parts Exports Soar in First Seven Months on Strong After-Sales Market, Better E-Sales

(Yicai) Aug. 14 — China’s vehicle parts manufacturers logged double-digit growth in the first seven months from a year earlier as the auto after-sales market grows steadily and more companies transition to cross-border e-commerce.

The value of China’s exports of car parts surged 10.1 percent between January and July from the same period last year to USD46.4 billion, according to the latest data from the General Administration of Customs. This is despite a 14.5 percent dive in exports last month year on year in US dollar terms.

With the continued increase in the size of global automobile ownership, parts exports were not hit much by the overall contraction in foreign demand, an auto and motorbike parts salesman based in Shanghai told Yicai.

The auto parts industry will continue its upward trend in the long run, said Zhang Peng, general manager at Changzhou Wenqi Automobile Fittings Factory. “The longer a vehicle is used, the more spare parts it needs, so long as it isn’t scrapped.”

Greater use of e-retail channels is also aiding exports. Wenqi realized USD10 million in cross-border e-commerce sales last year, Zhang said. It began building a export business tailored to individual customers on US e-retailer eBay in 2019 and has not looked back since.

“On eBay, Chinese sales of auto and motorbike parts almost doubled this year from last year,” said Yi Peng, a manager in California-based e-Bay’s international trade division.

“Online sales of auto and motorbike parts only accounted for around 7 percent of the European and US markets before, but since the pandemic it has increased to 10 percent and is still rising,” Yi said.

Sales of auto and motorbike parts logged an over 40 percent jump this fiscal year from the year before thanks to strong overseas demand, data from e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding showed. And the upward trend is likely to continue in the second half.

Sluggish auto exports also mean Chinese car parts factories have spare capacity which they are able to divert to cross-border trade.

“Our first-half revenue was equal to the whole of 2022,” the Shanghai-based salesman said. “We began to shift to exports from domestic sales in 2021 due to intense rivalry on the mainland and it has opened the door to great opportunities.”

“We expect 2023 to be our most profitable yet as the cost of shipping has fallen back to where it was several years ago and the Chinese yuan is also depreciating,” said Cai Yizhen, e-commerce operation director at an auto parts firm based in Wenzhou, eastern Zhejiang province. 

Editors: Shi Yi, Kim Taylor


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