Geely's Dihao EV. Credit: Geely via X, formerly known as Twitter Back in 1984, the story of a Beijing chicken farmer saving up to buy a Toyota car shot to prominence in the Chinese media as a leading example of the country’s growing prosperity. The family at the center of the story may not have been the peasants they were presented as — its patriarch was in fact a senior government official — but the message was clear: Vehicle ownership was a symbol of success in the new China. Fast forward 40 years, and China is reaching a milestone of a different magnitude. In the first half of 2023, China overtook Japan as the world’s largest automotive exporter, just one year after speeding into second place by displacing Germany. China’s top auto companies, including those specializing in electric vehicles, now have their sights set on expanding further into Europe. “It’s manifest destiny that China will surpass Japan, because Japan’s trend is down and China’s trend is up,” says Bill Russo, founder and CEO of Automobility, a Shanghai-bSubscribe or login to read the rest. Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.