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Stairway to Shenzhen|Business|

One man has found his ultimate energy charge in the southern city
Welcome to paradise on Earth. At least, that is the way Isbrand Ho sees it.
For Ho, of BYD Auto Co Ltd, Shenzhen gets that top billing not just because he feels it is a hallowed place for his company, but because he sees it is a haven for the good guys of the world: companies that want to innovate.
“Shenzhen is a very advanced thinking area in China,” says Ho, general manager of BYD’s auto export trade division.
“A lot of new product ideas and breakthroughs start here in Shenzhen. It is one of the most favorable places for the growth of many innovative companies, similar to Silicon Valley in the US.”
BYD’s growth has paralleled the city’s reform and opening-up, he says.
“Without the support of Shenzhen, BYD would not be where it is today.”
Ho, speaking in the group’s sprawling headquarters covering almost two square kilometers in Pingshan district, says that because the electric-vehicle industry is so new, those in it need boldness, determination and support from the government.
He recalls that when BYD started developing electric buses, one of the recurring questions was whether they could be safe, a challenge that put the industry’s best minds to the test.
The city government had become well aware of the advantages of saving energy and protecting the environment and it offered great support to the industry, providing subsidies and acquiring electric vehicles for shuttling government officials around.
One of the most prominent examples is when Wang Rong, the city’s Party secretary, declared in January that he would be using BYD’s E6 as his official car, giving up his Audi A6.
“That’s great support,” Ho says. “The government sees the advantage of electric vehicles in saving fuel and in having zero emissions. They have been very proactive with the local bus brand.”
Born in Hong Kong and raised in the United States, Ho came to Shenzhen in 1986 when it was just a fishing village.


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