Chinese pull way ahead of Koreans in EV batteries
Korean battery makers saw their global market shares slip during the Jan.-March period.
The Chinese company CATL had 31.6 percent of the global EV battery market in the first quarter, according to Seoul-based market tracker SNE Research, nearly doubling its 17 percent share a year ago.
CATL sold 15.1 gigawatt-hour (GWh) capacity of EV batteries in the first quarter, which was a 320.8 percent jump from the same period last year.
LG Energy Solution, a wholly owned subsidiary of LG Chem, came in second, with 20.5 percent global market share. That is 4.1 percentage points lower than a year ago. Sales by capacity increased 89.3 percent year-on-year, from 5.2 GWh to 9.8 GWh.
Japan-based Panasonic came in third with 16.7 percent market share, down from 26 percent the year before.
Another China-based battery and EV producer, BYD took the fourth spot in the first quarter, with 6.8 percent of the global market, up from 4.8 percent one year ago. It produced 3.2 GWh capacity of EV batteries posting a 221.1 percent year-on-year growth.
Five China-based battery makers - CATL, BYD, CALB, AESC and Guoxuan - accounted for 45 percent of the global EV battery sales, up from 29.2 percent one year ago.
Samsung SDI took fifth place with 5.3 percent market share, down from 7.7 percent from one year ago.
SK Innovation was in sixth with 5.1 percent market share, down from 5.5 percent last year.
China’s state-owned lithium-ion battery manufacturer CALB ranked seventh with 2.7 percent global market share, up from 0.6 percent during the same period last year. The former niche player saw 913.9 percent year-on-year growth in terms of capacity, selling 1.3 GWh worth of EV batteries during the cited period.
Korean battery makers increased their capacity figures but couldn’t beat the aggressive market expansion by the Chinese players.
The three Korean players accounted for 30.9 percent of global sales in the first quarter, down from 37.8 percent last year.
“Korean battery makers, which had solid growth last year despite the coronavirus, are showing a sign of stalling confronted by aggressive supply expansion by Chinese players,” SNE Research said.
“As Chinese players including CATL start to advance into non-Chinese markets, Korean battery makers' foothold in the global EV battery market will likely to be threatened."
CATL’s customers used to be mostly in China including Geely, SAIC and BAIC, all of which have formed joint ventures in the country to make batteries and put them in their EV models. It also is the main supplier to Tesla in Shanghai.
The Chinese battery maker has recently been forming partnerships with Germany-base Daimler and BMW as well as Japan's Toyota and Korea's Hyundai Motor.
SNE Research said the global EV battery market in the first quarter grew by 127 percent compared to a year ago.
BY JIN EUN-SOO [firstname.lastname@example.org]