Skip to content

China’s Shifting Strategy: Overseas Investment in the Electric Vehicle Industry

A report from the American think tank Rhodium Group suggests that China likely set a new record in outward direct investment in the EV industry last year. This year, China’s overseas investment in EV will remain strong, but will shift from primarily investing in the battery sector to manufacturing electric cars in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. This shift will aim to appeal to host countries’ demand for high value-added investment and job creation in exchange for market access.

So far, Chinese EV manufacturers have focused mainly on auto exports rather than on overseas production. The volume of Chinese car exports surged in 2022-2023, triggering an EU anti-subsidy investigation into Chinese EV imports. As a result, BYD announced plans to build a car factory in Hungary. This move would bypass potential anti-subsidy tariffs that the EU might impose.

Chinese EV manufacturers realize that the EU welcomes direct investment even though it might block direct auto exports from China. Unlike the U.S., which would strictly scrutinize Chinese EV production on U.S. soil, EU member states compete with each other to provide incentives for Chinese companies. The Rhodium Group anticipates that the EU’s investigation into Chinese EVs will encourage direct investment by the Chinese electric car industry in the EU.

China is also attempting to circumvent U.S. restrictions by investing in US trade agreement partners such as Morocco and Mexico.

Source: Deutsche Well, March 14, 2024