With the listing of Chinese new automakers in the US, new energy vehicles have become one of the most discussed words in 2020. Qasim Khan, Deputy Manager of Equal Ocean's auto and consumer section, shared with Telum Media the latest auto industry trends and his insights on China auto market.
You've switched your focus from education to the auto industry. What inspired you to make the change?
Strictly speaking, I have broadened my portfolio. Auto is a huge industry, and China is its biggest market, especially the industry's NEV sector has been a hot topic throughout 2020. One of the main inspirations behind auto focus is the fact that China is changing its auto image. Companies like NIO, Xpeng, BYD are now competing on the top-level.
How do you source stories and find inspiration?
If we are researching a particular firm, then we do have contacts within that company which is our main source. Also, we try to interview (online or remotely) industry insiders or investors from the industry. Our inspiration is our readers. I don't write on topics just for the sake of writing, rather I think about what would interest our readers.
What responsibilities does EqualOcean have in informing your audience in terms of reporting on the auto industry that might affect consumers?
Because we focus mostly on US-listed Chinese firms such as NIO, Xpeng and Li Auto, we aim to provide our readers with the latest news regarding the company, which may affect its stock price in a negative or a positive way. Also, we produce analysis articles on the firms predicting their future stock prices and rating them as either buy, hold or sell.
Any trends of the auto market you saw in 2020? Can you share with us the most impressive story you've been involved with?
There have been two main trends in 2020. One is auto firms trying to recover from the business havoc caused by COVID-19, and the other is the Chinese EV industry picking up pace. China has produced EV firms that are considered potential competitors of Tesla, which is now ranked as one of the highest valued companies in the world. Companies such as NIO, Xpeng and Li Auto have successfully been listed in US stock markets, raising millions of dollars. They have been producing top-quality cars with the latest technology, such as NIO battery swap tech. Sales have been breaking previous records on a monthly basis. Other than that, consumers do not need to import Tesla as its Giga factory in Shanghai has been completed selling 'Made in China' models with a lower price tag. Auto giants such as Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW and Audi are looking to seize a big chunk of the red hot market as they have all announced their EV models for the Chinese market.
As for the most impressive story, I would choose the first article of our series of monthly NIO analysis 'NIO In October 2020: Decent Fundamentals Eclipse Citron's 'Plug-Pulling
.' It was the first article of our monthly series that we started in October last year where we give monthly updates on the firms. We got a lot of feedback from our readers interacting with them through over 200 comments on Seeking Alpha (financial content platform), making it the top trending article of the month.
Any special features you're preparing for in the coming year?
We have a mini-report coming up very soon: 'Chinese NEV Makers' Prospects in the European Market. Lately, there has been a lot of hype around Chinese automakers entering the European market. This report will present an analysis of Chinese NEVs' operating and strategic capabilities and the auto market trends in the European region. While the paper will nominally be about NEV makers, we can consider the insertion of case studies from the Chinese auto supply chain companies that are planning to be active in Europe. A special chapter will be devoted to this topic to cover component providers, battery makers and other players related to the topic. We will also analyse the market movements of major NEV stocks and present the results of financial modelling in this paper.
What's your secret to reporting on Chinese innovation and businesses?
There is no secret. We just follow the companies very closely on a daily basis. We do have direct contacts within the firms that we report about, which is a massive help and also because of which we are the first ones to get first hand information from the company itself. In addition, we try to get in touch with industry insiders and investors, be it large ones or small ones.
What kind of story pitches are you looking to hear from PRs?
Over the past year, we have switched our focus from Chinese private companies to US-listed firms. As for the PRs of private companies, we would definitely like to collect information regarding their future financing and IPO plans.
What do you like to do on your days off?
Ideally, I would go travelling depending on the COVID-19 situation and on how many days I have off. I'm also a huge football lover. I usually spend my off days either playing football with friends or staying home watching football or some TV series.