Chinese Battery Maker CATL Opens a Sales Office in Japan
Chinese automotive battery maker CATL has opened a sales office in Yokohama City in Japan. The new base will boost the company's ability to cooperate with local automakers such as Nissan Motor and Honda Motor. CATL is also considering establishing a research and development center in Japan to improves its service to clients.
CATL, or Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd., is the biggest automotive battery supplier in the world, and sold batteries equivalent to 11.84 gigawatt-hours in 2017, surpassing rivals Panasonic and BYD. CATL's clients include foreign passenger vehicle makers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Jaguar.
It established a Japanese branch, known as CATJ, in November 2017 and opened the office in Yokohama this month.
"We support Japanese automakers as a service provider," Naosumi Tada, president of the Japanese branch, said at a press conference on Friday. Japanese carmakers are developing electric vehicles for the Chinese market in cooperation with CATL. Tada said CATJ would consider establishing an R&D center in Japan if its clients demand it. Tada noted that it was potentially dangerous to transport batteries from Japan to China, so it may need a local technical base.
He added that the company's clients were aiming foremost at the Chinese and European markets, "so I think there is not much need to build [a manufacturing] plant in Japan." CATL also makes storage batteries, but Tada said his branch of the company would initially focus on automotive batteries.
CATL also revealed that it would decide on the location of a new plant in Europe by next month. "We will conclude [a memorandum of understanding] with the local government by next month and will announce the venue," said Eric Zhu, CATL's general manager of overseas business, at the press conference. He did not specify whether the new plant would be in eastern or western Europe.
CATL listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange last month, raising 13.1 billion yuan. It plans to build a new plant in Ningde City in China's Fujian Province, with production output of 24 gigawatt-hours.
The company's ambition to increase its manufacturing capacity is not limited to China. "We are also negotiating with foreign automakers about business abroad," Zhu said. (www.chinatrucks.com)
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