PROTON Sets Up PRO-NET For New Energy Vehicles Business
PROTON has set up a new wholly-owned subsidiary i.e. Proton New Energy Technology Sdn Bhd (PRO-NET) subsequent to the signing of a General Distribution Agreement (GDA) with smart Automobile Company in August. PROTON’s new company will spearhead sales and distributorship for smart vehicles as well as its own future new energy vehicle offerings.
PRO-NET is run by a separate management team, with operations staff coming from external hires from various industries. Leading this subsidiary is Chief Executive Officer, Zhang Qiang. He has a long history in the automotive industry in China and has been at PROTON for the past 5 years focusing on sales and network development.
Other key members include Salawati binti Mohd Yusoff, a 25-year auto industry veteran who is PRO-NET Chief Brand Officer, and Sua Chek Hoong as Chief Information Officer. He is a newcomer to PROTON and has 20 years of experience in the communications and IT industry.
The management team will report to a board of directors headed by Dr Li Chunrong, PROTON Chief Executive Officer, and supported by Roslan Abdullah, PROTON Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Wang Huaibing, PROTON Chief Financial Officer, and Amran Mohd Tomin, PROTON Vice President Human Capital & Admin.
PRO-NET has planned to begin the sales of smart electric vehicles in early Q4 2023. The first smart EV model slated for a Malaysian debut will be the smart #1. PRO-NET is already laying the foundations for its introduction. A top priority for the company will be the deployment of charging solutions for buyers. Current plans call for the deployment of home-based and public charging network.
“Our studies show consumer hesitancy to adopt new energy vehicles is tied to their concern about charging availability. PRO-NET intends to address the issue with a two-pronged approach combining the installation and maintenance of home-based chargers with a comprehensive public network to be built with partners specializing in the development and running of charging stations. As a PROTON subsidiary, PRO-NET has a responsibility to ensure our products and services are accessible to all Malaysians regardless of where they reside so in addition to fixed chargers, we are also considering mobile solutions to expand our reach,” said Dr Li Chunrong.
“The new energy vehicle industry is growing exponentially, and PRO-NET wants to be a major part of it both in Malaysia and abroad. As these new offerings will not be weighed down by previous model lines or even traditional service operations, it is an opportunity for PROTON to reframe its customer experience and reposition itself as a mobility provider that can attract new and traditional buyers. We are at the beginning of our new energy journey but with today’s official announcement regarding PRO-NET, our plans will gain momentum leading to more developments in the months and years ahead,” added Dr Li.