Visiting BYD's HQ in Shenzhen, China

Visiting BYD's HQ in Shenzhen, China

James Wong
James Wong
21 Oct 2023
It felt like a 5-star treatment and unlike anything we have ever seen from a car company.

Following on from our drive at Zhuhai International Circuit, rain continued lashing down on us as we took a three hour bus ride to Shenzhen, passing by Zhongshan and the outskirts of Guangzhou. We were headed to the home of BYD in China.

Along the way, we stopped at a rest area and I bought some toys for my son. I used Alipay for the first time in my life, and it was brilliant. Seamless and easy.

The Pearl River Delta - still pearly?
The scenery outside as we made our way around the bay area was not very well-defined; there were wide swathes of farmland growing banana trees, but then seemingly in the middle of nowhere you’d find blocks after blocks of gleaming condominiums. It felt like many of these housing developments were not very occupied.

What is BYD City?
Finally we reached the BYD HQ, which is actually quite some distance off the main city of Shenzhen. I’d hazard a guess that BYD needs the space, because it employs a few hundred thousand people. It’s essentially BYD City - people live in BYD-subsidised condos, send their children to BYD schools, go to BYD hospitals and work in BYD factories. It’s a closed loop ecosystem.

When we entered the compound, the first thing I noticed was a light rail network that ran between the buildings. The second is the grand entrance which looks like a five star hotel lobby. Except, this one was packed full of new, gleaming cars, most of them I was seeing for the first time in my life.

The Unique Cars of BYD
There was the BYD Seagull, which is one class below the Dolphin; something that could resemble a modern day VW Polo EV. Then there were the Denzas - a luxury arm of BYD that used to be a 50:50 joint venture with Mercedes-Benz. First up was the N7, a luxury crossover with an impressive interior, and the D9, which goes head-to-head with the Maxus MIFA 9. Lastly, there is the rotating on-the-spot YangWang U8 that has Defender-esque dimensions. Although we didn’t get to see it rotating, it was cool to see it in person nonetheless.

Five Star Hotel?
As we arrived slightly late, we were whisked off to the in-house Chinese restaurant within the BYD HQ upstairs. It was impressive. A grand piano at the lobby, leather lined walls and a whole wine vault! We had a private room to ourselves with a huge “not so lazy” Susan that slowly rotated the countless number of dishes to each of us hungry journalists. It felt like a 5-star treatment and unlike anything we have ever seen from a car company.

It’s a conglomerate, duh!
After the hearty lunch, we had an in-depth product briefing of the Seal before we headed to the BYD Museum. Here we saw the thousands of patents that BYD lodged, the Cell-to-Body chassis in its rawest form and the concept BYD E-Seed GT. It was amazing to see how BYD was already innovating in its early years and how far it has come. It doesn’t make cars - it manufactures a whole host of things, from face masks, to buses and trains!

We capped off our day with test drives of several new models we have never seen in Singapore. It was really exciting to see camouflaged development cars running around the compound too, including a two-door sports coupe (!). Stay tuned for more!

Photos by James Wong


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