Chinese electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) is reported to be planning to expand its overseas manufacturing operations as it looks to fend off rising competition from other global suppliers.
The company has established itself as the world’s largest manufacturer of EV batteries, largely thanks to its strong position in China’s fast-expanding domestic EV market in recent years. But other manufacturers, particularly the South Koreans, are positioning themselves to benefit from strong growth in global markets, particularly in Europe and North America.
Reports last week suggested CATL’s chairman Robin Zeng Yuqun, speaking at a closed meeting with more than fifty international investors, confirmed that the company is “exploring the feasibility of localising production in the USA”. The meeting included analysts from Hillhouse Group, Tencent Holdings, Sequoia Capital and Temasek Holdings among others.
Mr Zeng told investors that CATL has held discussions with a number of potential US clients, including incumbent and recently established automakers, to discuss potential supply relationships including technologies and costs. US automakers are currently investing heavily to secure adequate supplies of EV batteries ahead of anticipated strong market growth.
The company currently has an overseas manufacturing operation in Germany and is looking to diversify its overseas operations further, particularly as the Chinese government plans to phase out domestic EV subsidies by the end of 2022.