China’s Semcorp, the world’s leading supplier of a key component in electric vehicle batteries, is poised to start production overseas with a goal of raising its global market share to 50% by 2025, reports Nikkei Asia. The factory in Hungary is near completion and slated to start operations within the year, Semcorp said. The company, formally known as Yunnan Energy New Material, has invested about €340 million ($365 million) in the facility.
“We have dispatched about 100 employees from China to the Hungary factory,” Semcorp spokesperson Chen Kaiya told Nikkei. “We are also hiring locally and working to build a team.”
The move shows how Chinese suppliers of battery materials are trying to compete for customers beyond their vast home market. In lithium-ion batteries, sheets called separators prevent the electrodes from shorting, which causes overheating. Semcorp surpassed Japan’s Asahi Kasei in 2018 for the top spot in the global separator market, with a 37% share in 2022, Tokyo-based Techno Systems Research estimates.