Here is an interesting sign of how China’s auto market is increasingly one the world needs to watch. Xinhua News is reporting that for the first time ever, last year China exported more vehicles than it imported. The numbers show China exported 172,639 autos, or 11,031 more than were imported, according to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce. The stats show a 120.5% jump in number of units exported compared to 2004, and show that the total value of vehicles exported was $1.58 billion, a 158.4% jump over the previous year.
Not surprisingly perhaps, by dollar value, imports still outpace Chinese exports by a long shot (imported vehicles were worth $5.2 billion according to the Chinese statistics.) That’s because the majority of Chinese autos being exported are cheaper priced, with most still going to countries in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, rather than the U.S. and Europe, of course. Nevertheless, China is clearly building towards its goal of becoming a serious auto exporting nation, including eventually to the developed world too. Get ready.