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Southeast Asia a hot spot for Chinese EV makers

A Neta S coupe on display at the 44th Bangkok International Motor Show in Bangkok, Thailand, in March. (Photo/Xinhua)

The nation’s manufacturers looking for overseas markets where sales can excel

Chinese NEV and battery manufacturers are considering overseas production to better explore markets, with Southeast Asia at the top of the list of destinations.

Analysts said that localized production will allow companies to launch products faster and create products that better meet local demands.

Hozon said it plans to produce its Neta-branded vehicles in Indonesia starting in 2024.

The Chinese electric vehicle startup partnered with PT Handal Indonesia Motor in late July. The two will start assembling complete cars from the second quarter of 2024.

Hozon will display three of its Neta brand models at the Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show from August 10-20.

Hozon said he would like to introduce Chinese-made smart vehicles to the Indonesian market, which has a population of more than 200 million people.

“We believe that Indonesia has great potential to accept electric cars as vehicles to support daily mobility activities because they have proven to be effective and environmentally friendly,” said Wang Chengjie, Deputy Chairman of Neta Auto and Vice President of Neta Overseas.

The automaker started to explore foreign markets in 2022. Now its models are available in several countries, mainly in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia and Thailand.

Hozon has broken ground on a plant in Thailand, which has a designated annual production capacity of 20,000 vehicles and will begin operations in early 2024.

Electric vehicles from the automaker’s Neta brand are popular in the country. Statistics show that Neta was the best-selling EV brand in Thailand in June, with a 28.9 percent share of the market.

Also in Thailand, China’s largest automaker SAIC broke ground on a new energy industrial park in May, which is expected to focus on localized production of key auto parts for the company’s new energy vehicles.

Construction of Phase I of the park is estimated to be completed this year. Full construction of the park will be finished by 2025, the automaker said.

The new energy park, located in Chon Buri province, will cover 120,000 square meters and include standard workshops, a container yard, a logistics warehouse, as well as drainage systems and a parking lot.

Several upstream NEV and component companies have expressed their intention to establish themselves in the industrial park in the future, SAIC said.

BYD, China’s largest NEV maker, is expected to produce vehicles in Thailand from 2024, which will be sold domestically and exported to Southeast Asian markets.

Its wholly owned plant, designed with an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles, will be the company’s first passenger vehicle manufacturing plant.

Liu Xueliang, General Manager of BYD Asia-Pacific Auto Sales Division, said, “Thailand has a strong foundation in the auto industry with first-class manufacturing capabilities, so we decided to build a factory here after careful consideration. deliberation”.

EVE Energy, a China-based lithium battery maker, last week held a groundbreaking ceremony for its manufacturing plant in Malaysia with an initial investment of $422 million.

The company said the new manufacturing facility will focus on the production of cylindrical lithium-ion batteries to support power tools and electric two-wheelers made domestically and across Southeast Asia.

Joe Chen, director of EVE Energy Malaysia, said that by relying on EVE’s domestic advantages and operating experience, the company will build a cylindrical battery production base in the country.

“This is an important milestone for EVE to expand our global business, enhance our comprehensive competitiveness and further increase our global market share. And most importantly, it allows us to contribute to the development of the electric power ecosystem in Malaysia,” said.

Meanwhile, Lim Bee Vian, Deputy CEO of the Malaysian Investment Development Agency, said the investment marks a crucial milestone that not only benefits EVE but paves the way for more companies to invest in Malaysia in the industry. of electric vehicles and their ecosystems.

“By collaborating with industry leaders like EVE, we can foster an environment of innovation and technological advancement,” he said.

He also said that this project aligns perfectly with Malaysia’s National Automotive Policy 2020 as the country commits to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

He also said that Malaysia’s strong ecosystem, backed by robust research and development and a thriving components sub-sector, positions the country to serve the entire EV value chain.

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