In 2007, when 6-speed automatic transmission was gaining popularity in Europe and America, cars sold in domestic markets, whether domestic or joint brands, were using 4-speed automatic transmission. However, in the next few years, China saw significant progress in homegrown automotive engines. Nonetheless, performance and cost issues remained unsolved as domestic cars had no choice but to use a designated engine to match the imported automatic transmission. By 2015, domestically made automatic transmissions accounted for less than 1% of the market, despite the fact that the total number of automatic transmissions used in China reached 8 million.
Shengrui Transmission was founded in 2003 as a supplier of casting products for Chinese automotive and equipment manufacturer Weichai Group. In 2006, Shengrui Transmission reported sales revenue of approx. RMB 1 billion and an annual profit of RMB 50 – 60 million. However, at that time, there was a big gap to fill in the domestic automatic transmission market and a technological breakthrough would certainly give the company a big competitive edge. In eight years, Shengrui Transmission kept its R&D efforts going and finally launched the FF 8-speed automatic transmission (8AT). In 2011, as the 8AT prototype began to gain popularity, there was a pressing need to raise money for the production lines.
In May 2012, JIC Investment (formerly JIC Direct Investment Department) visited Shengrui Transmission. They had an in-depth understanding of the industry and, considering the trends in the transmission sector and China’s transmission market. Finally, they decided to provide real support to a great company in a promising industry.
By the end of 2012, JIC Investment made a capital injection of nearly RMB 200 million to purchase and install the assembly lines made in Korea, thus kicking off the production of 8AT.
"The decision to invest in Shengrui was based on our focus and insight into the industry. We were just one of the 30 something institutional investors who had visited Shengrui. Most of them gave up after a quick look at the company’s financial statements. However, it was the company’s future we were more interested in than how it is fairing financially." --Zhang Chi, Investment Director of JIC Investment
"Shengrui is not the only company benefiting from our investment decision. Actually, a thriving Shengrui is also driving the growth of businesses of any size in this ecosystem." --Zhang Chi, Investment Director of JIC Investment
"During the six months of working with JIC, I`ve seen two great things about the company that differentiates them from other investors. First, they care more about the long-term return on investment. Second, they support Chinese brands in advanced manufacturing." --Dong Lijun, Board Member / Deputy General Manager & CFO of Shengrui Transmission
It took Shengrui Transmission eight years to launch China's first FF 8-speed automatic transmission and fill the gap in homegrown automotive components. With research centers in three countries and partnering with a number of domestic research institutions, Shengrui Transmission is taking its R&D efforts to the next level and working on 13AT and hybrid transmission. According to the company's business plan, Shengrui Transmission's automatic transmission production will rise to 1 million by 2020, thus accounting for 10% of China's passenger car market. In 2015, a national industry revitalization and upgrade project – "Annual Output 300,000 8ATs" was launched with 80 percent of the production line fully automated, thus serving as a benchmark for China's Industry 4.0 Initiative. In 2016, Shengrui Transmission Corporation Limited engaged in high-end manufacturing and achieved steady progress in the industrialization layout of automatic transmission by adhering to the international cooperation and collaborative innovation model of development. In January 2017, Shengrui's "R&D and Industrialization of front-wheel drive 8-speed automatic transmission (8AT)" project won the First Prize of National Award for Progress in Science and Technology in 2016, thus becoming the first auto part project to win the prize since the founding of the nation.