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Volkswagen aims to fill China’s EV talent void with new academy in Hainan

The new academy will be the second such facility established by Volkswagen in China this year. It launched one in Hefei city in Anhui province in February as part of an academy programme that goes back more than a decade.

The move accelerates Volkswagen’s €15 billion (US$16.34 billion) electrification plan in the world’s largest car market.

It comes as the traditional carmaker is vying for a bigger slice of China’s booming new energy vehicle (NEV) industry. There is a growing need for higher-level talent as the nation aims for 20 per cent of its domestic vehicles to be battery-powered in two years’ time.

The academy “will boost the group’s electrification transformation in China [and will] develop new talent within the industry,” said Stefan Mecha, chief executive of Volkswagen’s passenger cars brand in China and head of group sales of Volkswagen Group China.

The company “will expand its ‘in China, for China’ strategy with a commitment to meeting the needs of the Chinese consumer, further developing China’s automotive industry, and making a positive social impact in the country,” he said.

Volkswagen, the best selling car brand in mainland China, said it will set up a training system that keeps abreast of the latest industry trends, offering courses on NEV technologies for teachers and professors as well as students.

Tutors will learn new teaching methodologies, while students will have access to academic seminars, corporate culture exchange programs and career guidance. The company will also establish a certification mechanism in line with industry standards within the centre.

Volkswagen plans to invest €15 billion in e-mobility in China by 2024, as it tries to hold on to its top position in the country amid fierce competition from home-grown NEV players such as Li Auto and Xpeng.

“There’s a lack of talent in China for the electric vehicle industry, the industry has not paid enough attention to it and local education and training hasn’t caught up [with the fast development of the sector],” said Zhang Xiang, a dean at the Jiangxi New Energy Technology Institute. “Volkswagen’s move is filling a gap in the market.”

Training services can be very profitable if done well, with higher margins than those in car making, Zhang said. “Hainan’s favourable policies for foreign investors in land prices and taxation are beneficial, and likely to boost the margin.”

Hainan, a tropical island and popular tourist destination, aims to end the sale of petrol vehicles by 2030, in line with Beijing’s climate goals of peak carbon emissions by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2060.

This article was originally published by a amp.scmp.com . Read the Original article here. .

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