Korean battery makers are beefing up production in China, the largest market for nascent yet lucrative electric vehicles.
Samsung SDI, the battery-making unit of Samsung Group, will showcase a range of battery technologies, including quick-charging battery cells and pouch-type and cylindrical batteries, at the Auto China event that runs through May 4 in Beijing.
The company, which took over the manufacturing plant of Austrian battery pack manufacturer Magna Steyr in China last year, plans to utilize the Chinese manufacturing base to roll out battery cells, modules and packs.
“Samsung SDI will try to build a production lineup that produces battery cells, modules and packs in China and contribute to the growth of the Chinese electric car market, which rises as the hub of the global EV industry,” said Cho Nam-seong, Samsung SDI’s chief executive.
An official from a local battery company anticipates that competition between Korean and Chinese battery makers will heat up not just in China but also in other markets, as more electric vehicles will hit the road in the coming years.
“Competitors have been ratcheting up marketing efforts in recent months, riding on the increased public attention to electric cars, such as Tesla’s, and energy storage systems,” said the official, declining to be named.
SK Innovation is one such companies trying to speed up global expansion.
During a conference call on first quarter earnings last Friday, the SK Group affiliate said it would work with its Chinese partners, including Beijing Automotive Industries Holdings and Beijing Electronics Holdings, to build additional manufacturing facilities for battery cells and packs in China in the coming months.
It plans to increase its annual production capacity from the current 800 megawatts for batteries to 950 megawatts this year.
LG Chem, which is also participating in the ongoing Beijing automotive event, will seek to strengthen ties with its Chinese partners and strike new partnerships.
LG Chem currently runs 10 affiliates and subsidiaries in the Chinese market, which it entered in 1995. It plans to begin the operation of its battery factory in Nanjing City later this year.