Chinese home appliance giant Hisense Group has signed a cooperation agreement with related authorities in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa to build an intelligent bus system.
The move signifies Hisense's first-ever foray into the smart traffic segment overseas.
Hisense said the project is expected to finish within 21 months. Upon completion, local residents can receive real-time bus information through a mobile app as well as on digital screens at key public spots like bus stops.
Public transport firms can do real-time monitoring, remote control, intelligent scheduling of vehicles and match passenger flows and traffic capacity. This will help Ethiopia to improve operational efficiency of its public transportation, Hisense said.
Hisense had announced in December that, in partnership with Shandong Hi-Speed Group, it won a bid in Ethiopia to provide intelligent solutions for public bus services in Addis Ababa.
Addis Ababa is one of the largest cities in Africa with a population of about 5 million. Locals mostly use public transport for commutes. But, long lines and up to half-hour wait times are common at bus stations during peak hours.
Mou Sangang, general manager of the international department at Hisense TransTech Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Hisense Group, said the project is the first of the company's intelligent transport business overseas and is expected to improve the travel experience of local residents.
Mou said Hisense plans to accelerate efforts to expand its intelligent transport systems in overseas markets such as South Africa, West Africa, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico, Slovenia and Serbia.
Upgraded public transport will aid passengers and reduce peak-hour traffic congestion, said Zhang Sihai, president of Hisense TransTech, in an earlier interview, adding tapping overseas markets is necessary to keep the company's intelligent traffic business growing.
Hisense, based in Qingdao, Shandong province, first tapped into this segment in 1998 and its innovative integrated solutions have been applied in 169 cities across China.
Its bus rapid transit or BRT solutions account for 70 percent of domestic market share, and its sales of traffic light control systems rank first in the country.
The Ethiopia project will help Hisense to further expand its presence overseas, said Zhao Meimei, assistant president of market consultancy All View Cloud.
Like Hisense, Chinese home appliance manufacturers are marching into overseas markets to seek new growth points and achieve long-term development, Zhao said.
Guan Jizhen, vice-chairman of the China Intelligent Transportation Systems Association, said Chinese enterprises have the ability to compete with their overseas counterparts in the intelligent transport segment on the global stage. They have started to introduce their technological standards systematically in overseas markets.
In November, Hisense said it plans to buy Siemens' Intelligent Traffic Systems, which provides solutions for effective road traffic management, for nearly $1 billion. The traffic division of the German group is a world leader in intelligent traffic services and solutions with a history of more than 100 years.