Gap in the lith-ion market in China

While the solar trade war between U.S. and Chinese manufacturers rumbles on, there is a rare opportunity for American manufacturers in a parallel industry to plant their flag in Chinese soil, according to a Chinese market research agency.

Guangzhou-based China Chemicals Market (CCM) says the explosion in demand for high-efficiency lithium-ion batteries to power increasingly popular electric vehicles (EVs) will create huge opportunities in the nation for foreign battery manufacturers and investors.

CCM today (Monday) predicted the EV-related lith-ion battery market in China will increase fivefold, from 4 billion ampere-hours (Ah) per year to 20 billion Ah/year by 2017 as demand for EVs follows a similar upward trajectory.

Struggle to meet demand

With domestic battery manufacturer BYD already having struggled to meet demand as the number of EVs on the road reached 78,499 last year – according to figures supplied by the Chinese Association of Automobile Manufacturers – and with Chinese manufacturers trailing lith-ion battery makers in the U.S., Japan and South Korea, CCM says there is a huge market opportunity for foreign manufacturers.

With EV numbers having risen 250 per cent from 2013’s figures last year, CCM predicts the number will rise to 250,000 this year and investment in lith-ion battery manufacturing in China will rise 400 per cent by 2017.

According to CCM’s figures, foreign manufacturers Samsung, LG and Foxconn have each already invested RMB 2 billion ($321 million) during 2014.