By Yoon Sung-won
LG Chem has signed a deal to supply electric vehicle batteries to China's largest automobile manufacturer Changan.
The world's leading maker of batteries for electric cars will exclusively provide batteries for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) that Changan Automobile will produce from 2016. This will result in sales worth a hundreds of billions won in the China, LG Chem said.
"The latest deal with Changan Automobile has let us secure more than half of the top 10 Chinese brands as our customers to dominate the world's largest electric vehicle market," LG Chem battery business head Kwon Young-soo said in a statement.
"LG Chem will continue to seek deals not only in China but also around the world to maintain leadership in the global market."
Established in 1862, Changan Automobile is a state-run corporation. It is China's largest automobile manufacturer with more than 80,000 employees. It posted about 40 trillion won in sales last year.
Changan Automobile has collaborated with LG Chem in developing electric vehicle batteries since 2009. LG Chem said it expected additional large-scale deals because the Chinese company was considering expanding the application of battery modules for the PHEVs to all other vehicles.
Expanding presence in China
LG Chem also provides battery products to Great Wall Motors and Dongfeng Motor, China's second-largest and third-largest carmakers, respectively.
The Korean battery maker said it had established reliable market base in China, one of the world's largest electric vehicle markets, and was scheduled to supply more than 550,000 battery products for its Chinese customers from 2016.
During the last three months since May, in particular, LG Chem has won extra deals to supply more than 350,000 batteries in China, the most among battery makers operating in the country, the company said.
LG Chem said it would further intensify its push into China because the Chinese government was expanding investment in the electric vehicle industry.
"We will complete building a battery-manufacturing plant in Nanjing within this year, which will enable us to supply batteries for more than 100,000 electric vehicles a year," the company said. "The mass-production will be started from next year."
The Chinese government has introduced a policy called "New Energy Autos," aiming at producing more eco-friendly cars. It will invest about 700 billion won in this sector and replace 30 percent of government-owned vehicles with eco-friendly cars.
According to the global market search agency IHS, China's eco-friendly car market will grow to 110,000 units this year and to 655,000 units by 2020 to lead North America and European on the global stage.