Shown above is the T4K electric vehicle of Chinese automaker BYD. South Korea’s GS Global started selling the model here earlier this year. Photo courtesy of GS Global

Chinese EV maker does not disclose its nationality

Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD comes under suspicion in South Korea that it is trying to conceal the origin of the company and its products here in promoting its electric trucks.

After launching its electric truck model, dubbed T4K, in South Korea in April, BYD cooperated with Korea’s GS Global to sell it through various channels, including the Kakao T mobile application.

While introducing T4K in the app, BYD is dubbed as the world’s leader in manufacturing the eco-friendly automobiles, without noting it is from China at all.

The dedicated Korean-language homepage of T4K also claims that BYD operates six plants located in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Hungary, and India.

In fact, T4K trucks are known to be rolled out in the Chinese factory of BYD.

Observers point out that such measures may be related to the anti-Chinese sentiments among many Koreans.

“Because of the rampant anti-Chinese sentiments here, sellers of a Chinese brand would not want to disclose its origin,” Daelim University automotive professor Kim Pil-soo said.

“In addition, made-in-China products are not regarded as premium goods here.”

The relationship between Beijing and Seoul deteriorated over the past several years for some reason.

In particular, things got worse this April when South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol expressed opposition in a media interview to any attempts to change of status quo of the Taiwan Straight by force.

Chinese foreign ministry criticized the remarks as verbal meddling in the country’s domestic issues. The Seoul administration countered by noting such comments as “unspeakable.”

The Central European Institute of Asian Studies asked more than 1,300 Koreans last year to find out that up to 81% of the respondents held unfavorable views on China.

Among the 23 countries or entities they were asked about, China was the most negatively viewed, even compared to Russia with 77% and North Korea with 69%.

Meanwhile, comments from BYD Korea or GS Global were not available. GS Global, an affiliate of South Korean conglomerate GS Group, is in charge of importing T4K trucks and selling them here.

The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at or 82-2-6956-6698.