Who is the Chinese manufacturer BYD who is about to settle in Morocco?
Only a few Moroccans know the BYD brand. And yet, the Chinese car manufacturer BYD, supported by the American billionaire Warren Buffett, had been a pioneer in the electric car sector even before Tesla’s ascent.
They commercialized their first hybrid vehicle in 2008 and, one year later, unveiled their first entirely electric car, the e6, long before Tesla started to sell its Model S in 2012. Since then, faced with the ascent of the emblematic Californian group, the Chinese company has been plowing its furrow and does not hide its international ambitions. BYD is now present in fifty countries around the world. Who is this Chinese manufacturer who produces electric vehicles – buses, trucks, cars, and forklifts? The most attentive among us could have already spotted one of the 25 BYD black taxis in Zaventem, or a 100% electric bus at Schiphol, the Dutch airport. It must be noted that major cities such as Sao Paulo, London or Rotterdam have already integrated BYD vehicles into their fleet. The group delivered its 10,000th bus in 2016. In Egypt as well, where the group settled a few years ago, more than a third of the taxis in Cairo are made by BYD. However, when Wang Chuanfu created BYD in 1995, the company’s purpose was solely to try to compete with foreigners in the making of rechargeable batteries for mobile phones, with the government’s consent. Now BYD is the first Chinese and the world leading producer of electric cars.
Wang Chuanfu managed to build his dream: becoming a world leader in the electric sector. It is no coincidence that BYD means “Build Your Dreams”. Originally specialized in the production of lithium batteries (as the leading world producer) in the early 2000s, BYD embarked on a path of diversification in the car industry in 2003 by purchasing Tsinchuan Automobile Company then on the verge of bankruptcy. Now BYD is the fourth Chinese car brand by number of sold vehicles. BYD has a R&D center in Shanghai that employs 5,000 people and makes it a point of honor to integrate the whole production chain, from bodywork to battery. At the end of 2008, Warren Buffet, smelling a good deal, supported the project by purchasing 10% of the capital for 230 million Dollars. Wang Chuanfu is now one of the largest Chinese fortunes. Fourteen years after he created his company, he controls half of the world market of batteries for mobile phones.
According to the international press, the story of the king of the battery is almost a tale. Described as taciturn and uncommunicative, Wand studied chemistry and metallurgy. He graduated in 1897; his teachers tried to convince him to go for basic research. But the chemist had already decided to create his own rechargeable batteries manufacturing company. Wang Chuanfu’s stated purpose is to become the number one in the car industry in China by 2020… and in the world by 2030.