Expansion plans for Volvo production in China

Chinese carmaker Geely, which is poised to acquire Swedish auto brand Volvo from US giant Ford, plans to expand the production of Volvo cars in China, according to media reports.

Reuters news agency reported on Friday that a source close to the company has revealed new and improved manufacturing plans in China.

Geely earlier stated its desire to work with local authorities and build production facilities which are tailor-made for the Chinese market.

Volvo began small-scale production in China in 2006 and today a number of Volvo models are being manufactured through Ford’s cooperation with Geely competitor Changan Automobile.

The cars include the S 40 model and a variant of the S 80 – which both sell at a substantially reduced price in China by avoiding high customs charges.

According to Reuters, Geely will acquire existing machinery from Changan. In the future it intends to collaborate with Chinese companies to build a new Volvo factory in Chongqing, in the south west of the country, where Changan’s own production plant is based.

Local production has led to steadily increasing sales for Volvo in China, but figures still remain relatively small.

Last year, around 15,000 cars were sold in the country compared with 12,600 cars in 2008.

Despite ongoing discussions to expand production to China, Geely has previously stated that Volvo’s head office and factory in Gothenburg will not be closed.

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China derides Copenhagen democracy meet as ‘political farce’

China on Tuesday blasted a democracy conference in Copenhagen attended by Taiwan's president and a Hong Kong activist alongside Danish government officials this week, qualifying it a "political farce".

China derides Copenhagen democracy meet as 'political farce'
Demonstrators gathered outside the Copenhagen Democracy Summit on Tuesday. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The Copenhagen Democracy Summit was held Monday and Tuesday in the Danish capital and organised by the Alliance of Democracies, an organisation targeted by Beijing sanctions in March and founded by former NATO boss Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

In addition to Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen and Hong Kong democracy activist Nathan Law, Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod also participated in the forum by video link, which Beijing said violated “the one-China principle.”

“This summit is a political farce,” the Chinese embassy in Denmark wrote in a statement published on Tuesday. “Inviting those who advocate Taiwan and Hong Kong ‘independence’ to the meeting violates the one-China principle and interferes in China’s internal affairs,” it said.

“Some hypocritical western politicians are good at meddling in other countries’ internal affairs and creating divisions and confrontation in the name of ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’. They are bound to fail,” it added.

At the conference on Monday, Kofod said it was “deplorable” that Beijing had imposed sanctions on 10 European individuals and organisations in response to EU sanctions on Xinjiang officials over their actions against the Uyghur Muslim minority.

Like most countries, Denmark applies the one-China principle — under which Beijing bars other countries from having simultaneous diplomatic relations with Taipei — though it does maintain relations with Taiwan.

Cut off politically from the rest of China since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the territory is self-governing but is not recognised by
the United Nations.

Beijing considers Taiwan a rebel province that will one day return under its control, by force if necessary.

China’s sabre-rattling has increased considerably over the past year, with fighter jets and nuclear-capable bombers breaching Taiwan’s air defence zone on a near-daily basis.

“Our government is fully aware of the threats to regional security, and is actively enhancing our national defence capabilities to protect our
democracy,” Tsai told the conference in a video address on Monday. US President Joe Biden is expected to present his China strategy soon, as
calls mount for him to publicly commit to defending Taiwan militarily in the event of a Chinese attack.