Emerging Markets : Battery Maker Boosts Auto Output
COMPANY TO WATCH: BYD/CHINA


BYD, China’s largest producer of rechargeable batteries, is well on the road to becoming a major car manufacturer. The company sold 30,700 automobiles in the six months ended June 30, an increase of 585% from the same period last year. BYD plans to double its annual auto production capacity to 160,000 vehicles in 2007 and to introduce three new models. It announced an agreement in October for auto-distributor Irito to set up a plant in Russia to assemble 25,000 BYD Flyer minivans annually for sale in the Moscow area.

Shenzhen-based BYD, which is the world’s largest supplier of nickel-cadmium batteries, is a listed company on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. It also makes lithium-ion batteries and handset components.

Besides its Flyer and F series cars, which operate on traditional fuels, the company has introduced electric and hybrid vehicles. For the time being, it is counting on sales growth in batteries and handset parts to maintain its gross profit margin around 20%. It has done substantial research on electric cars, however, and is confident it can produce rechargeable car batteries that will get good mileage per charge and ensure the company’s future growth in the competitive Chinese auto market.


Gordon Platt
 

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