Telecom Lead Asia: Trimble and Navman Wireless are set to gain from the Chinese commercial telematics market.
The market is set to prosper in coming years thanks to an anticipated wave of new regulations mandating the use of tracking systems on certain vehicles.
However, licensing requirements that require multinational telematics service providers (TSPs) to partner with local players continue to restrict the involvement of Western players.
Despite the recent slowdown, the Chinese economy continues to grow and fleet operators struggle to add a sufficient number of vehicles to keep up with the surging demand for goods. As such, telematics becomes an important tool to optimize the use of the limited available vehicle resources.
With sales of commercial vehicles in China estimated at close to 4 million units in 2011, and around half of global heavy truck sales in the country, it’s clear that the opportunity for fleet management services is massive.
Safety of vehicle and their cargo is of paramount importance as many commercial vehicles in China are leased. As a result, there is strong interest in being able to locate vehicles in the event that lease payments are missed. Because of this, TSPs are able to sell based on the security aspect, but also have upgrades to more sophisticated services ready and available.
However, selling advanced solutions can be challenging as it’s common for fleet managers to choose the lowest priced solution and this favors domestic firms offering basic, but aggressively-priced solutions.
More expensive Western brands can struggle to gain traction and this is compounded by restrictive licensing regulations. That said, it is expected that as familiarity with applying data analytics to improve efficiency grows, we will soon see a shift from basic to more advanced solutions.
Furthermore, regulations currently mandate that public city buses and taxis be fitted with tracking devices, as well as vehicles carrying hazardous goods in some regions. Further mandates are likely to be announced in the next 1-2 years and thus boost the overall market for commercial telematics solutions in China, which is good news for current incumbents such as Trimble and Navman Wireless.
(pix for this article is sourced from automotiveit)
Craig Foster, ABI Research