Crowds flocked to the big Beijing auto show on Saturday - the industry's only international event this year - as automakers once again look to attract customers despite the coronavirus crisis.
Postponed for five months because of the pandemic, the event, which will last for 10 days, began as China largely contained the spread of the virus.
However, most executives of foreign manufacturers have had to virtually unveil their new models due to restrictions on international travel.
This did not prevent a large audience wearing mandatory masks from enjoying the stage presentations of the new cars.
The holding of the glitzy show is "a symbol of hope" for the industry, CEO of BMW in China, Jochen Goller, told the crowd on Saturday morning.
The number of entrance tickets was limited this year in order to reduce crowds, but visitors nevertheless rushed shoulder to shoulder in the exhibition center.
China's auto industry is showing signs of recovery after single car sales collapsed by nearly 80% in February, when consumers were forced to stay at home and the economy nearly came to a halt to slow down the 'epidemic.
Sales picked up after a very difficult first quarter, rising nearly 8% last month according to the Chinese Federation of Individual Car Manufacturers.
Nearly 800 vehicles were shown on Saturday, including 82 world premieres, as automakers scramble to gain market share and rekindle consumer interest in a sector stuck in a pre-pandemic crisis.
This year, global auto sales are expected to fall by 20%.
But the S&P rating agency expects China to be the only market to catch up with 2019 volumes over the next two years.
Electric cars are one of the main attractions of the Chinese show: Beijing has encouraged this sector and wants to increase the share of electric to 25% by 2025. Chinese electric car companies are seeing renewed interest from investors .
The stand of the next Tesla drew crowds, as did the models of XPeng and Li Auto, two rivals which go public this year in the United States.
Meanwhile, more established players like Volkswagen or BMW have made commitments for the future, with fully electric models due to be produced in China.
Chinese auto sales are expected to drop 9% this year overall.
But sales of clean energy vehicles should pick up in the second half of the year, according to S&P predictions.