If you’ve watched any of Euro 2024, it will have been impossible to miss the presence of BYD. The Chinese manufacturer has taken a prominent sponsorship of this major football tournament, its adverts and branding covering the 10 stadiums being used in Germany.

The cumulative audience of the Euros is in excess of five billion, according to tournament organiser UEFA, and BYD’s branding is given billing alongside the likes of Adidas and Coca-Cola and fellow Chinese companies Alipay and Hisense.

“They focus on future international expansion, using their foundation and capital strengths in China to boost overseas market presence and revenues, particularly in Europe,” Howard Yu, professor at the International Institute for Management Development, told the South China Morning Post about the surge of interest and investment from China in the Euros.

“What’s new and interesting here is that Chinese companies for the first time will need to engage the Western market and learn to localise, [changing] their image from being Chinese companies with an international presence to becoming companies that consumers will associate with strong local relevance.”

The sponsorship comes at a time when BYD must be feeling rather unwelcome in Europe, with its electric cars weeks away from facing 17.4% tariffs as the EU looks to level the playing field for Chinese imports that take advantage of huge state backing.

At a pre-tournament briefing, BYD’s European top brass were tight-lipped on tariffs, and they were not mentioned or even hinted at in a press conference where questions weren't invited.

However, the presentation took a notably different tone in the positioning of BYD. The company looked to position itself as much as a technology and a 'new energy' company as a car maker, car-making being just one of three pillars to its business, alongside solar energy and energy storage (batteries).

It also reminded us that it will have a new car factory in Hungary operational by the end of next year.

Most remarkable was the statistic that BYD now employs 100,000 engineers and files 32 patents every single day on average. It’s close to having 50,000 patents in total.

Just a few days earlier, a top global executive from a western car maker had told me the same thing about BYD and its number of engineers: even if you took away all the labour cost and supply-chain advantages, in addition to the Chinese state support, it still had 10 times the engineering capacity of his company – an amazing fact.