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China's largest EV maker BYD plans to set up a factory in Thailand

September 10, 2022 3:30 am

BYD, China's largest electric car maker, will set up a factory in Thailand, its first production center in Southeast Asia.

On Thursday, the automaker signed a contract to buy land and build a factory for new energy passenger cars in an industrial park run by local giant WHA Group, according to press releases. The investment amount is not been disclosed.

The new factory, with an annual capacity of 150,000 units, is set to begin operations in 2024, building cars for the local market and for export to countries such as those in Southeast Asia, according to BYD.

WHA noted that by 2030, electric vehicles are expected to account for 30% of Thailand’s total car production, or 700,000 such cars a year.

By the end of the year, BYD expects to begin selling Dolphin models in Thailand under the partnership with Rever Automotive (Thailand), an importer of Chinese-made electric vehicles. Other EV models will follow.

The ASEAN-China free trade agreement, which has been in operation since 2005 and permits Chinese manufacturers to ship EVs to Thailand duty-free, will benefit the Chinese automaker, according to Reuters. 

Founded by Chinese chemist Wang Chuanfu in 1995, BYD has grown from a company specializing in the production and sales of rechargeable batteries to four core areas: electronics, automobiles, new energy, and rail transit.

Recently, the Shenzhen-based company dethroned Tesla as the world's largest EV manufacturer. It sold over 640,000 new energy passenger cars, which include all-electric and plug-in hybrid models, in the first half, a 300% increase over the same period last year, surpassing Tesla's 76,000 sales.

Compared with other EV makers that rely heavily on suppliers for key components, BYD has a distinct business model where it doesn’t source parts from specialized manufacturers. Instead, it manufactures its own chips and batteries as well as electric vehicles.

Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers see Southeast Asia as a promising international market because of the region's expanding consumer base and its proximity to China. Hebei-headquartered Great Wall Motor and Shanghai-based SAIC Motor has set up production line in the country. In the first half of 2022, Great Wall Motor sold 5,219 EVs in Thailand, while SAIC Motor sold 4,500 EVs.