Shown above is the factory of LG Energy Solution in South Korea. During the first half of this year, the Seoul-based firm topped the global EV battery market, excluding China, but the margin with second-placed CATL shrank from a year ago. Photo courtesy of LG Energy Solution

China’s CATL catching up fast

South Korea’s LG Energy Solution topped the global rechargeable battery market excluding China during the first half of this year, according to market consultancy SNE Research on Aug. 7.

Over the January-June period, the overall market for electric vehicle batteries expanded 56 percent to 143.1 GWh from a year before.

LG Energy Solution was next to none with a market share of 28.7 percent, followed by China’s CATL with 27.2 percent and Japan’s Panasonic with 15.8 percent.

Two other South Korean corporations also joined the ranks of the top five as SK On and Samsung SDI assumed market shares of 11.1 percent and 8.7 percent, respectively.

However, CATL saw its first-half market share jump substantially from 20.5 percent during the corresponding period of 2022.

“The Chinese market is ruled by local manufacturers, which also grow fast outside of the country,” Daelim University automotive Professor Kim Pil-soo said.

“Chinese firms expanded their market share with low-end products and are also trying to tap into premium markets, which have been dominated by Korean firms.”

In order not to lose the market share, Professor Kim advised Korean firms to come up with low-tier products, too.

However, Korean firms appear to care more about advanced markets, including the United States and Europe.

For one, they have increased investment in the U.S. to qualify for government subsidies after the introduction of the Inflation Prevention Act last year.

Earlier this year, LG Energy Solution announced its plan to spend $5.5 billion to build a U.S. factory complex that would supply batteries for electric cars.

Late last year, the Seoul-based firm disclosed its plan for a $1.3 billion investment in a battery factory in Arizona.

Kevin Chung studied literature in Seoul. He is interested in various areas. He can be reached at jumphigher55@aol.com or 82-2-6956-6698.