ZD Automotive — a German-Chinese success story

Foun­ded in 2012, ZD Auto­mo­ti­ve is a limi­t­ed lia­bi­li­ty com­pa­ny under Ger­man law based in Groß­meh­ring near Ingol­stadt and offers pro­ducts and tech­ni­cal ser­vices for vehic­le info­tain­ment sys­tems, con­nec­ti­vi­ty, ADAS and auto­no­mous dri­ving. ZD deve­lo­ps soft­ware and hard­ware solu­ti­ons for vehic­le bus sys­tems that faci­li­ta­te the deve­lo­p­ment and test­ing of modern vehic­les. In addi­ti­on to Ingolstadt/Großmehring, the com­pa­ny is curr­ent­ly estab­li­shing fur­ther bran­ches in Stutt­gart and Ber­lin.

On 18.12.2020, ZD Auto­mo­ti­ve con­cluded a coope­ra­ti­on agree­ment with TUM Inter­na­tio­nal GmbH. The coope­ra­ti­on bet­ween the two com­pa­nies rela­tes to the are­as of rese­arch col­la­bo­ra­ti­on, know­ledge trans­fer and con­sul­ting for busi­ness deve­lo­p­ment in the Chi­ne­se mar­ket. TUMint is con­tri­bu­ting in the coope­ra­ti­on with ZD Auto­mo­ti­ve its expe­ri­ence in the estab­lish­ment and deve­lo­p­ment of indus­try-rela­ted rese­arch sites and is advi­sing ZD Auto­mo­ti­ve on this. TUMint also media­tes bet­ween rese­ar­chers working in the TUM envi­ron­ment with rese­arch pro­jects see­king ent­ry oppor­tu­ni­ties in Chi­na. Qiang Zhou, the foun­der of ZD Auto­mo­ti­ve, is hims­elf also a TUM alum­ni.

Through its whol­ly owned sub­si­dia­ry ZD-UNI Inn­o­Park in Nanjing/China, ZD Auto­mo­ti­ve can offer a wide ran­ge of ser­vices for start-ups loo­king to expand into the Chi­ne­se mar­ket. This includes for exam­p­le:
— Cowor­king space in Chi­na
— Fun­ding con­sul­ting
— Pro­ject scou­ting
— HR and legal con­sul­ting
— VC plat­form etc.

Bes­i­des the Inno-Park in Nan­jing, ZD Auto­mo­ti­ve also has bran­ches in Shang­hai, Bei­jing and Hef­ei. The com­pa­ny sees its­elf as a bridge buil­der bet­ween Ger­ma­ny and Chi­na and wants to enable Ger­man start-ups to deve­lop fur­ther in Chi­na.

In a second step, ZD Auto­mo­ti­ve can publish TUM rese­arch pro­jects on its plat­form and in its net­work chan­nels and thus help to fund­rai­se.

With the ZD-UNI Inn­o­Park in Nan­jing, Chi­na, ZD is ope­ning up a new busi­ness seg­ment in which it sup­ports Ger­man com­pa­nies in their expan­si­on into Chi­na. Through its own busi­ness deve­lo­p­ment in Chi­na, ZD has a lot of expe­ri­ence and a lar­ge part­ner net­work in the Yangtze River Del­ta and other loca­ti­ons in Chi­na. ZD can also use its eco­sys­tem to act as an “acce­le­ra­tor” for a com­pa­ny and pro­vi­de on-site sup­port through a local sup­port team. In addi­ti­on, ZD’s access to govern­ment fun­ding offers Ger­man com­pa­nies a varie­ty of attrac­ti­ve finan­cing opti­ons.

Nan­jing is loca­ted in the eco­no­mic­al­ly strong Yangtze River Del­ta, whe­re the manu­fac­tu­ring indus­try in par­ti­cu­lar, espe­ci­al­ly the auto­mo­ti­ve indus­try with all OEMs is repre­sen­ted. The lar­gest cities in the Yangtze River Del­ta are Shang­hai, Nan­jing and Hang­zhou.

Tar­get group:
— Medi­um-sized com­pa­ny with min. 20% growth poten­ti­al
— Rese­arch pro­jects that alre­a­dy have patent pro­tec­tion but are still loo­king for a part­ner for indus­tria­liza­ti­on
— Hol­ders of patents or licen­ses to be sold inter­na­tio­nal­ly

Ger­man indus­tries that are par­ti­cu­lar­ly inte­res­t­ing for the Chi­ne­se mar­ket from ZD’s point of view:
— Automotive/supplier, body shop
— Sur­face tre­at­ment
— Medi­cal tech­no­lo­gy (devices!) / Health Care (e.g. Sie­mens)
— Tools, mecha­nics, mecha­ni­cal engi­nee­ring, pre­cis­i­on mecha­nics (com­pu­ter-aided machi­ne con­trol such as CNC mil­ling, etc.)
— Auto­ma­ti­on Technology/Robotics
— Rene­wa­ble Energies/Energy Tech­no­lo­gy