Automotive third party logistics in China
Abstract: This Master’s thesis concentrates on the investigation of the automotive third party logistics (3PL) industry in China. Therefore the overall aim of this thesis is the investigation of the Chinese 3PL environment with the focus on automotive industry. In order to clarify this aim, following four research objectives are set: 1) Identify barriers and conditions of the 3PL market, taking automotive market as an example market for 3PL services. 2) Identify market specific logistics services and compare different logistics services providers in this environment. 3) Assess the Chinese industrial structures and their impact on foreign enterprises and create an actual picture of the automotive industry. 4) Detect industrial structures’ influences on logistics services competition. Such a research is important as existing research focused on these objectives is extremely rare or not present. The research objectives are solved by a multi-method approach. In wide areas this thesis is a descriptive study. Thus barriers and conditions of the 3PL market, taking automotive market as an example market for 3PL services, are identified in an extensive literature review and combined with findings from interviews. These interviews are performed in a case company which is active in the Chinese automotive 3PL market. Many important characteristics and circumstances which can mainly be seen as barriers for logistics business are identified in the areas of Infrastructure and equipment, Supply and demand of logistics services, Importance of relationships, Legal issues and Staff requirements. Market specific logistics services are also identified in a literature review. In a next step these services are used to compare seven relevant 3PL providers in the industry by doing a questionnaire survey. The research shows that services mentioned in literature present in the industry. No significant differences between different competitors can be found. Thus none of these companies shows a competitive advantage due to their service portfolios. Industrial structures for both industries automotive manufacturing and automotive 3PL are assessed by combining findings from literature and from empirical internet research. Thus industrial structures in China are ruins of earlier years in China’s history. State-owned enterprises play an important role in China’s automotive manufacturing industry. These companies are involved in the overwhelming share of the passenger car production. An interesting finding is that most passenger cars arise from joint ventures between these Chinese car groups and foreign car manufacturers. The Chinese car groups and the joint ventures create a network like structure in the industry. 3PL providers appear differently. Major companies identified are wholly-owned foreign companies, joint-ventures between Chinese car groups and foreign logistics providers or subsidiaries of car groups. Affiliations between logistics joint ventures and Chinese car groups indicate that competition might not be unrestrictedly present in the market.
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