Aiways appoints new CEO & announces strategic shift

The Chinese electric car manufacturer Aiways has appointed a new CEO and wants to refocus on business outside China. Aiways is thus returning to its original strategy of focusing on overseas markets, but there are to be further changes within the company.

Aiways announced the appointment of Hugo Zhu as its new CEO, who is to drive the company’s development and strengthen its focus on overseas business. The decision was announced after a “closed-door meeting of executives and investors lasting several weeks”.

One of his first tasks, he said, will be to give the company a leaner organisational structure. Aiways does not explain what exactly this means. There is also talk of different communication and efficiency. For example, he says, employees should be able to “take on more responsibility and create a more flexible and responsive working environment”. During a transition period, the new CEO will be assisted by Samuel Fu (also known as Fu Qiang), the company’s founder. In his role as president of the company, he will also take on day-to-day business responsibilities during this phase.

Aiways had already changed its CEO twice in 2022 – once in January and again in November. The company was founded by Fu in 2017 and was supposed to become an internationally established manufacturer of electric cars. Consequently, unlike Nio, Xpeng or Li Auto, Aiways quickly focused on expansion rather than sales in the Chinese market. According to media reports at the time, when an investor expanded its influence in a financing round in January 2022 and former Nio manager Zhang Yang was appointed Aiways CEO, the company changed its strategy and wanted to gain more market share in at home.

This approach apparently did not work out, because in June 2023 reports on financial problems at Aiways and negotiations with potential investors surfaced. It is not known whether the renewed change of CEO is due to the influence of a new investor. However, the fact that founder Samuel Fu, who stands for the overseas strategy, is now working with the new CEO Hugo Zhu underlines the move away from the China strategy.

“Overall, we will be able to position the company for the necessary changes and improvements under the new leadership,” says Alexander Klose, Vice President Aiways Overseas Operations and Managing Director of Aiways Automobile Europe GmbH, optimistically after last week’s workshops. “The simplified structure, the solution of internal problems, the focus on the customer and the strengthening of research and development for the Overseas markets are strategic steps on the way to a more agile and successful organisation.”


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