Hit by a double whammy of the coronavirus and minimized electric vehicle (EV) subsidies from the government, China’s total volume of battery use in January was less than half posted in the same period of 2019.
Chinese market research firm Battery China said on Feb. 13 that China’s battery use hit 2.32GWh, which was down 53.5% from the year before. EV production fell 52.3% to 48,600 units on reduced subsidies.
Battery China cited the deadly virus as the biggest reason behind the fall, which caused suspensions in key automotive industries.
"A sluggish Chinese market has major repercussions for local battery makers as well, which is why it’s imperative that the Korean players diversify their portfolio to include European makers,” said one market watcher.
Over the short term, however, the wane of the Chinese sector was a boon for their offshore rivals. LG Chem and Panasonic joined the ranks of the world’s top 10 battery makers after OptimumNano Energy went bankrupt. LG Chem recorded a 2.3% market share, and Panasonic 3.8%, both helped by Tesla’s Model 3 EV being churned out from the carmaker’s Shanghai Giga factory. CATL remained the industry leader with 57.3%, and BYD at second place with 10.8%.
China’s Guoxuan emerged as a powerful new figure, accounting for an 8.1% market share to place at third place. The company has said it would be building a 5GWh battery plant in Tangshan City by investing 5.5 billion yuan.
About 82.9% of the batteries produced by these top manufacturers were square top, while another 11.9% were cylindrical and 5.2% pouch-type.
The Elec is South Korea’s No.1 tech news platform.