China is the world’s largest vehicle market, selling more than 28 million cars and trucks in 2016, compared with 18 million in the United States. Almost all the vehicles sold in China are made in China, supporting a diverse ecosystem of 76 component making conglomerates, and 184 vehicle assemblers, in addition to dozens of indigenous brands.
After a decade of double-digit growth, the market is now starting to mature. Most urban households have already purchased at
least one car, and, according to McKinsey & Company, half of those households are considering “trading up” to newer and better models. Meanwhile, the shape of China’s auto industry could change radically if Chinese authorities make good on their promise to eventually prohibit the sale of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, in favor of those powered by batteries. Faced with the need to adapt, Chinese domestic auto makers are scouting the globe to buy premium brands, advanced technologies, and companies capable of conducting R&D into electric vehicles.
BYD, originally a battery maker, has transformed into a leading Chinese automobile manufacturer, particularly in the electric and hybrid vehicles market segment. In 2016, BYD held a 13% market share in the global alternative energy vehicles market and nearly a quarter of that market in China. In 2016, 7.5% of its revenue came from overseas markets.
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Since May 2013, BYD has invested more than $200 million in Lancaster, California to manufacture its electric buses. This facility now employs more than 400 people and is entering a second expansion phase, potentially offering another 1,000 new jobs. BYD has also won multiple government contracts, including with the city of Los Angeles, to supply electric buses for public transportation.
In November 2016, BYD committed to invest €20 million to build a bus assembly plant in Hungary. The plant is expected to be fully complete by 2018, creating 300 jobs.