Mercedes-Benz, the German company founded by the inventors of the motor car, is pouring more resources into its cutting-edge research and design capabilities in China as the centre of gravity of the new auto world shifts eastwards.
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In a drive to create a "home away from home", Mercedes-Benz is doubling down on bases in Beijing and Shanghai to stay ahead of regulations and consumer trends in a car market that outstrips the United States and Germany combined.
Three years after initially announcing plans to strengthen its research and development (R&D) in the country, the luxury car brand owned by Daimler will unveil its new Tech Center China in Beijing this month.
Reuters has spoken to four people close to the tech centre and the brand's Chinese design studio who are familiar with the company's new China strategy. All declined to be named because they are not allowed to speak with the media.
With 1,000 engineers, the new tech centre is more than three times the size of the one Mercedes-Benz opened in 2014 and the first outside Germany that can test "everything", putting it more "on par" technically with the far bigger R&D headquarters near Stuttgart, a person close to the centre said.
Mercedes-Benz has also invested significantly in upgrading its Chinese design studio and has moved the whole team from Beijing to Shanghai, a megalopolis of about 25 million people known as the car design capital of China.
Mercedes-Benz has good reason to elevate its Chinese operations.