Hong Kong-based shipbuilders China Ocean Industry Group – formerly known as China Ocean Shipbuilding Industry Group – has announced that it is diversifying into the business of car parks through the formation of a new joint venture with Shenzhen Electronics Group (SEG), a listed firm involved in electronics manufacture and property leasing.
In addition to what the company describes as the construction and operation of "intelligent car parks," the JV will also look to develop and market electric vehicle charging facilities.
"The scope of business of [the] Joint Venture includes (i) design, construction and installation of parking facilities and charging facilities; (ii) management of carparks; (iii) research and development, and sale of parking facilities; (iv) operation of carpark projects; [and] (v) sale of electric vehicle charging facilities," said the firm in a market filing.
The business' initial scope will be to refurbish and upgrade existing car parks in Shenzhen owned by SEG. Based on the experience gained through that project, the JV intends to expand to other parts of China.
China Ocean Industry has committed an initial investment of $5 million to the venture. It also intends to partner with Zhongan Anchan Technology Development and the China Safety Industry Association to formulate nationwide safety standards for intelligent car parks.
The concept of intelligent or automated parking is not new – several proprietary systems exist in Europe and one features prominently in the design of a tower in Dubai – but it may come at an opportune time in China, which faces an estimated shortage of 50 million urban parking spots. And it may come at an equally opportune time for China Ocean Industry's manufacturing facilities and employees: the yard posted a loss of nearly $70 million in 2015, and dozens of other Chinese shipbuilders have gone out of business over the past year as shipping industry conditions have soured. The creation of steel parking structures could prove to be a useful new line of work.