SEOUL -- China is encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles as a way to "leapfrog its competitors in the traditional automotive industry," retired Volkswagen AG Chairman Carl Hahn said
Given its status as the world's largest auto producer, China has the economic might to dominate the EV industry, Hahn said.
Hahn made his comments Thursday at the Seoul Forum, a conference hosted by the Seoul Economic Daily newspaper.
Hahn was instrumental in leading VW into China through a joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. that launched production in 1985.
Hahn was chairman of VW's board of management from 1982 until 1993, when he retired.
China is turning to electrification in part to reduce its growing dependence on imported oil. Chris Flavin, president of the Worldwatch Institute, told the conference.
"If China used as much oil per person as Japan, which itself uses half as much as in the United States, you'd have to double world oil production."