Yan Jianlai: China's auto industry urgently needs "systematic talents"

The China Formula Student Car Championship (FSC) was held in China in the past two years. As a new model for cultivating automobile talents in China, its potential has caused great concern in the industry. Recently, TireWorld.com interviewed its leader, Yan Jianlai, Minister of Science and Technology of the Chinese Society for Automotive Engineering, on the development history of FSC, issues facing them and their future development plans.

The FSC lag can't be blamed on the education and automotive industry. Tyre World Network: For decades, foreign students have been playing the Formula Student race. China has only just begun. Some people say that this lag is the cause of education, and some people think that it is the cause of the backwardness of the automobile industry. What do you think?

Yan Jianlai: These two arguments are unfair to the education and automotive industries.

The gap between China and foreign countries, in the final analysis, is still the gap between culture and national conditions. This is also the main cause of the disconnection between the current training of domestic automotive talent and practice.

Domestic education has been focused on theory and practiced lightly since ancient times. This "overlay problem" accumulated over the past five millennia cannot be changed by one or two generations. In addition, the fact that China has a large population has determined that under limited resources, it can only take exam-oriented education.

Moreover, the income gap between Chinese companies and the education sector is very large, which is one of the reasons that led to the disconnection of educational theory and practice in China.

Tire World Net: FSC's rules have stringent requirements and regulations for cost control. What is the purpose?

Yan Jianlai: If China wants to become a big country and a powerful country in the automobile manufacturing industry, it must use low-cost advantages. This is also our only current advantage.

However, in the automotive field, the lower the cost, the better. Because, the car needs to maintain its basic performance, such as comfort, speed, safety, etc. At the same time, the consumption difference in the automotive field is very obvious, its price is different, and the consumer groups are different.

Therefore, we strictly control the cost control during the competition. The team will be deducted for the cost of the entire project, whether it exceeds or falls below the cost. This forced the contestants to carefully calculate the costs at each step, thereby cultivating their ability to control the cost of the project rather than reducing the cost. This is also our original intention.

In addition, we have set aside another level of meaning in cost control: fostering “systematic talents” to allow participating students to learn how to conduct teamwork and cooperation. This is also an urgent need for the Chinese auto industry.

"Selectively" accepts the support of the Tire World Network: It is understood that from the first session of the event, there were five major automotive companies supporting this project. What kind of help did they provide?

Yan Jianlai: When no one knows this game, these five companies are willing to give this project support. This requires great courage. They were the first people to "crab with me" with me. I am very grateful to these companies.

Of course, being grateful to them is not because of the amount of money they sponsored but the people they arranged for us. The FSC referee was 180 people last year and all of them came from these companies.

Automotive engineers are particularly busy every day. They can take a few days or even a week to volunteer. This moral support is even more commendable. Non-profit activities need to mobilize the responsibility of the entire automobile society.

In addition, the company also gave us support on the equipment. Testing equipment, metering equipment, etc. are mainly provided by enterprises.

Tire World Net: Are there any thresholds for the entry of FSC project sponsors?

Yan Jianlai: The entry barrier is a must-have. When we position FSC as a high-end project, we must ensure its "high-end" quality. How can we guarantee it?

First of all, depending on who the participants are, this event is all the top players selected; secondly, it depends on who the supporters are, and all the participating companies are the top companies. Furthermore, we have detailed rules and do this under a standard monitoring to ensure no problems arise.

Doing the above points makes people feel that this project is top-level. The talent that FSC trains is top-notch, so this requires that the project's sponsoring team must also be the best. If the company is not qualified, it will not be used as a sponsor of the project.

We plan to add a sponsor company one year. The first year is 5, and the second year is 6, and this year Chery joined in and became 7 more.

Tire World Net: FSC has selected outstanding talents for the automotive industry in the form of competition. As a new model for training talents, what is the greatest difficulty faced by FSC from the beginning of its operation to the present?

Yan Jianlai: The biggest difficulty in organizing this kind of competition in China is funding.

As far as I know, many foreign NGOs (non-government organizations) use the budget system, such as Japan, Germany, and the United States. Their budget is allocated according to a certain proportion of the relevant enterprises. Therefore, the organizers of charity events do not need to worry about funding.

And domestic? China does not adopt a budget system because no company or organization is willing to "pay the bill." As the person in charge of this event, I now spend 80% of my energy on investment.

Tire World Net: In addition to investment, there are other solutions for funding issues?

Yan Jianlai: Yes, you can also use names such as title.

In fact, project investment is not very difficult for us. This project was done as the number one project of the China Automotive Engineering Society, making full use of resources in all aspects and is therefore relatively smooth.

Considering the potential risks, we did not conduct large-scale investment promotion and publicity for this project in the past two years, but even in this case, many companies have already actively contacted us to sponsor this project. Automobile companies also have international companies.

Of course, we very much welcome the participation of foreign companies, but at present we mainly use domestic companies as the core sponsors of this project.

Globally, taking the road of sustainable development Tire World Net: It is understood that the 2013 FSC will be open to the international community, and the number of participating teams may reach 80 or so. What new problems may arise at that time?

Yan Jianlai: First of all, the issue of funding. The cost of this project is currently in the range of 6 million to 7 million yuan. When it comes to 80 teams, it may need around 10 million yuan.

For now, the situation of investment promotion is more optimistic. The enterprises that have talked before are more supportive. In fact, the difficulty in attracting investment is not the amount. The main reason is that we do not have much energy and time.

Tire World Net: In addition to funds, other aspects will also have problems?

Yan Jianlai: The second problem is that the amount of social resources is insufficient. On the one hand, after the team was expanded, there was no suitable site resource. On the other hand, after the game's internationalization, we needed a good English referee; on the other hand, the international logistics, customs was a big problem. The competition we hold is a non-profit undertaking. However, foreign competitors’ vehicles brought to China need to pay high tariffs. If the state does not provide relevant support, this will be an obstacle.

In addition, domestic laws and insurance cannot be guaranteed. I have learned that for projects like ours that use their own cars for racing, there is no suitable type of insurance in the country and at most only group insurance.

On the whole, this will involve the deployment of many social resources, as well as legal and institutional safeguards. We must do our best to solve it step by step.

Tire World Net: How do you ensure the sustainable and high-quality development of FSC?

Yan Jianlai: Project quality is the first element of its sustainable development, and its quality requires two pillars to achieve. First, standards, we ensure the quality of the project from the rules, set up a special standards review committee every year to ensure competition. The internationalization of standards, etc.; the second pillar is the participants, we ensure that the participants are all mainstream universities and mainstream automobile companies in the country.

In addition, funding is the driving force for FSC's sustainable development. Therefore, the project itself is profitable and it is also the key to ensure its sustainable development. The money earned must be used for reinvestment projects.

Furthermore, starting this year, we must publicize the FSC to allow more social resources to participate, such as funds, venues, equipment, training personnel and so on.

In addition, we will increase funding for students. Afterwards, the organizers will give the new team some financial support each year to mobilize their enthusiasm for participation.

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