“In China, young people are experiencing the ‘new China’ with its rapid economic growth, prosperity and the will to be pioneers. They are open, have a Western orientation and are self-confident,” explains Zijian, a senior research analyst at AIR.
As she is Chinese herself, she has a good feeling for the changes occurring in her home country. And the time she spent in Germany helps her to assess the potential of new trends with relevance also beyond China, for the international market. Projects that are entirely devoted to Chinese culture are not unusual for AIR employees. In Beijing, everything is about the customers of tomorrow. The country has been in the spotlight since Audi discovered the Chinese market in 1988. As it is now Audi’s biggest single market, it receives special attention.
“China is a country of extremes: incredible fast, especially with new technologies. On the other hand, things can also move very slowly, in matters of bureaucracy for example. Life in Beijing takes place between these two worlds – that’s challenging, but also very exciting,” says Dr. Christian Balzer, Head of the AIR office. In early 2017, he left the Audi headquarters to dive into the world of Audi Innovation Research in China. As a graduate in psychology and business management, he adds another facet to Audi Innovation Research: “There is a broad range of expertise in our team. We have engineers, trend and market researchers, and data specialists. So we bring specialists together from many different areas. Another factor is that our team has a lot of Chinese members. While I contribute the German perspective, I can rely on my colleagues’ pronounced sensibility for the Chinese market. This heterogeneity makes us strong.”