Advanced technology may be made up of new materials and processes, but the one thing that drives any advance in any field is talent. If a company wants to design the next new widget, better than all the rest, it can bring new talent to the company, or the company can go to the talent.
In the US, software and hardware companies often find themselves in the so-called Silicon Valley in northern California, where the highest concentration of computer science graduates are found.
Of course, in a global economy, where does an automaker looking for the most engineers go except to China, which graduates more engineers than any other country in the world?
What is General Motors [GM] looking for? The GM China Advanced Technical Center won’t only be working on developing GM’s interests in China, but to develop technologies for GM global markets.
“This center plays a critical role in GM’s global R&D, engineering and design network,” said Jon Lauckner, the U.S. car maker’s global technology chief. “China now ranks first in the world in the number of PhD candidates, and these are talents we want to attract into the GM R&D and engineering workforce.”
General Motors‘ new technical center will eventually focus mainly on developing the “new energy,” essentially a Chinese buzzword covering advanced electrification technologies in electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles. The first phase of the project started in 2011, with the development of lightweight magnesium body panels, which China has an abundance of.
With the opening of the second phase this year, GM looks to have some 250 engineers under their roof, covering all phases of vehicle development from styling and communications technology to vehicle and engine engineering.