China surges as the world stalls

If there was one word that hung over last week's Automotive News Europe Congress in Bilbao, Spain, it was this: China.

"If you aren't serious about China, then you don't know what you are doing," said one leading supplier CEO.

One executive after another talked about the great growth potential in the world's largest market, which appears to be back on track and stronger than ever with Europeans. Production can't be ramped up fast enough, knowledge can't be acquired soon enough, and each day isn't long enough.

Arndt Ellinghorst, global head of automotive research at Credit Suisse, told me that there is uncertainty in the world everywhere -- except China.

He even recommends buying Chinese stock.

Ellinghorst said those who believe in an electric future should consider buying shares in Chinese automaker BYD Co. (Daimler AG and BYD signed an agreement in May to develop electric vehicles in China.)

"If the Chinese go electric in a big way, the world will be a very interesting place," he said.

In a world that economically feels a little shaky again, this much is clear: At least one market has its foot firmly on the gas.

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