Spending in China’s battery industry increased by 72.4% from a year ago in the first quarter of 2021, according to Gaogung Industry Research Institute (GGII).
Spending, which includes those for materials, components and equipment, reached 319 billion yuan in the quarter, GGII said. There were 21 cases of spending in battery cells and 41 in materials.
Battery companies led the spending. CATL had announced spending of 216GWh, CABL 64GWh and Svolt 40GWh.
Desay Battery and Sunwoda Electronics, which previously focused on small battery modules and packs, have also begun expanding to batteries for electric vehicles in the quarter. The pair had previously supplied batteries for Apple’s smartphones, tablets and notebooks.
Spending in materials for the quarter was 127.3 billion yuan. Cathode accounted for 60% of the figure. Spending in lithium iron phosphate (LFP) increased during the quarter, like due to increase sales of EVs such as Tesla Model 3 that uses the batteries. Tesla’s car model uses CATL’s cell to pack technology.
LFP batteries are relatively cheaper than batteries that use nickel, cobalt, aluminum and manganese as cathode. However, LFP batteries are heavier and is behind in energy density to NCM batteries.
China’s battery industry is also spending more in areas such as Sichuan and Guangdong. Previously, most spending was focused in Jiangsu and Fujian.
CATL, Semcorp, KDL and Lead China area all planing to build new factories in the Southwest. CATL was luring partners to Sichuan where its new factory is being built.