FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany, March 22 (Xinhua) -- "China is an important market for us, where we will constantly expand our business and robustly push forward localization." Wolf-Henning Scheider, chief executive officer of German auto supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG, told Xinhua ahead of ZF annual press conference, which was held Thursday in Friedrichshafen.
As a global leading auto supplier in driveline and chassis technology as well as active and passive safety technology, ZF has recorded revenue of 36.4 billion euros in 2017, with year-on-year increase of 3.6 percent, according to the annual report released Thursday.
The Commercial Vehicle Technology and Car Powertrain Technology Divisions recorded above-average sales increase. In particular, ZF's car automatic passenger car transmissions, combined with the highly integrated electric motor, still features great growth potential, said the ZF's new CEO at the press conference.
With sales of 7.78 billion euro in Asia-Pacific, of which over 85 percent came from China, that region contributed 21 percent of the whole revenue of ZF last year, following Europe and North America.
Since entering China in 1981, ZF has made steady development in China with setting up two regional headquarters, and 32 manufacturing enterprises, 3 aftersales service and trade companies as well as 239 aftersales service networks in China.
Scheider was much convinced that the Chinese market would remain strategic growing market along with its open and sustainable economic environment.
Furthermore, driven by local teams, ZF aims to establish comprehensive capabilities in China, localizing all of products both for automotive applications and for industrial applications in China, according to Scheider.
Keeping strong investment in innovation, ZF spent 2.2 billion euros on research and development in 2017, an increase of almost 15 percent compared to 2016.
With investing more that 2 billion euro particularly in advancing electric drives and the hybridization of transmission technology as well as vehicle safety systems and automated driving, the share of the ZF budget allocated to R&D will rise to 6.5 percent this year, said Scheider.
Beyond two existing R&D centers in Shanghai, ZF will further enlarge its innovation capabilities in China, he added. (1 euro = 1.23 U.S. dollars)