Samsung SDI invested additional funds to ramp up the capacity of its electric vehicle battery plant in China’s Xian to snap up a bigger market share in the world’s No.2 economy, according to Chinese officials on Sept. 10.
“The investment was completed last year, and mass production has already begun,” said one Samsung SDI official. Some industry watchers believe SDI may be willing to invest up to 1 trillion won more in related facilities.
The Samsung company invested around 84 billion won to add another line to the Xian facilities, which are now capable of churning out an annual 5.4 million 37Ah square-type batteries, and another 5.4 million of 120Ah, also square type.
This was the first for the product specs and capacity of Samsung SDI’s EV battery supplies were revealed. In terms of vehicle numbers, the Xian plant is producing enough for 30,000 a year.
The company also upped its stake in its Xian corporation to 65% from 50%. This is a part of a move supported by the South Korean government for fear of technological leaks to China.
Industry experts say the situation in China is fast moving to welcome competitive EV battery makers, as China will halt subsidies next year, and automakers are actively pursuing mergers with battery makers.
Investment in the Xian plant has plenty to do with Samsung SDI’s previous investment in Tianjin, also in China. In March this year, the battery maker began mass producing cylindrical EV batteries after expanding its facilities, which can now produce more than 2 million cells for 21700 cylindrical batteries. On a monthly basis, the company produces more than 10 million cells in this category.
Samsung SDI invested 400 billion won into the Tianjin project, according to the city officials. Together with the Xian plant, Samsung has altogether invested around 500 billion won into Chinese EV battery facilities.
Samsung SDI’s Xian plant went into operation in 2015. Initially, the firm had faced major challenges due to the Chinese government’s tactics to protect its own, but maintained its ground, looking to the energy storage system as alternatives.
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