GAC VOICES / 09 Jun 2024

The view from Shanghai

by Simon Xu, Managing Director of GAC China

When GAC China was set up shortly after the country joined the World Trade Organisation in 2001, we had just eight employees. That soon changed, as China opened its doors to multinational companies and its shipping and logistics sectors flourished.

With our headquarters in Shanghai, and offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Qingdao, Xiamen, Chengdu, and Wuhan, we now providing world-class integrated logistics, shipping and marine support services to both Chinese and international customers.

Simon Xu

Today, we are known as the largest shipping company in the logistics industry, or the largest logistics company in the shipping industry.

That extends beyond China’s borders, thanks to the GAC global network, as recently demonstrated with our support as protecting agent for a leading electric vehicle company’s dual-fuel Pure Car and Truck Carrier when it called at Port Louis in Mauritius to take on bunker fuels.

We are witnessing an unprecedented transformation of the logistics industry, driven by globalisation, artificial intelligence (AI) and sustainable development.

Globalisation can break down barriers to reduce costs, improve efficiency and meet diverse needs to enhance market competitiveness. But more attention needs to be paid to networks, information, collaboration and integration. Through close coordination between partners and by optimising the information flow, enterprises can track supply chains, integrate and optimise the use of resources, reduce costs and improve overall operational efficiency.

The supply chain is the lifeline of any enterprise, and logistics is the aorta in that lifeline. I believe that GAC has a key role to play in keeping that pulse beating strongly and steadily.

AI and big data can intelligently match components, assemble goods, improve loading rates and optimise transportation. In warehouses, automation and real-time inventory management boost efficiency, while intelligent retrieval, GPS positioning and financial management systems make for efficient distribution. While boosting efficiencies, the use of AI can create more opportunities for the logistics sector.

With sustainability concerns of growing importance, logistics companies must also consider local regulations, energy consumption and carbon emissions and take active measures like optimising transportation routes, whilst ensuring the safety of operations, goods and personnel.

The human factor

Before we set up GAC China’s automotive logistics arm, I conducted in-depth research on market changes to understand customer needs and pain points. Since then, those demands and concerns have increased, and it has become clear that they don’t just want faster services. They want personalised customer service and support. Recognition of that has led to us establishing strategic partnerships with some major customers. Good customer relationships are more than providing quality prices, products and services. It also demands healthy human relationships.

The success of a company is inseparable from a loyal team. Only by establishing an equal relationship of mutual respect and progress can a company secured sustainable success.

GAC Project Logistics MEA08

A harmonious corporate culture is the fertile soil for cultivating an invincible team.

Building a positive corporate culture is not just another box to be ticked. It takes time, continuous attention and investment.

About 40% of GAC China’s employees have been with the company for more than 15 years. It is their first job after graduation, and they have stayed with us. That’s something I am very proud of.

Response to change
We are in a rapidly changing era which is testing our long-term strategic goals and adaptability.

Our response to challenging times might seem counter-intuitive. During the world economic crisis, we hired people while others laid off. But by taking that long view, we found opportunities through calm analysis and creative solutions. We improved some traditional management concepts and injected new interpretations into the operating model.

GAC wants to be a strategic partner of our customers, not just a solution provider. They have always been the driving force behind our progress, and it is our goal is to help them achieve their goals.

More than 30 years in the business has taught me to appreciate the integration of Eastern and Western cultures. The GAC Group corporate spirit reflects that, embracing all and providing the support and resources needed to achieve success wherever we go.

Our Group strategic plan is global in its view, but from where I sit in Shanghai, I can see that it resonates with Chinese values of relationship, positivity, calm, prudence and far-sighted ambition.

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