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The backstory: BYD, which is backed by famous investor Warren Buffet, is a major player in the electric vehicle (EV) industry. Over in China, BYD has been making some big moves in the new energy market. In the span of a year, its market share jumped from 29% to 37%. To put it into perspective, in the first quarter of 2023, BYD outperformed Volkswagen, becoming the top-selling car brand in China. Now, it’s expanding overseas, not just selling Chinese-made cars but also setting up production facilities in other countries.
More recently: In March, the EV maker started shipping cars to Uzbekistan, with plans to deliver over 5,000 units by the year's end. In May, the company inked a deal with the Indonesian government to start producing EVs in Southeast Asia's largest economy. Then, in July, BYD made a splash with a US$620 million investment in an industrial complex in Brazil's Bahia state. Simultaneously, it’s building a plant in Thailand, expected to be operational next year, with the capacity to produce 150,000 cars a year.
The development: Now, BYD is expanding its presence into Central Asia by teaming up with Uzavtosanoat JSC to establish a factory in Uzbekistan. This factory is set to start production in Jizzakh in 2024, starting with two popular BYD plug-in hybrid models, the BYD Chazor and the BYD Song Plus DM-i.
This is a big move for Uzbekistan, a country that's all about going green and reducing emissions. The joint venture, formed in December 2022, will handle everything from welding and painting to assembly. Not only will these cars be sold in Uzbekistan, but they'll also find their way to other Central Asian nations.
Jizzakh, located about 190km southwest of Tashkent's capital, is a vital hub in Uzbekistan's car industry. Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has ambitious plans to attract US$700 million in investments, and BYD is part of this vision, along with other Chinese and Korean companies.
"Production will commence in Jizzakh in 2024, starting with two bestselling BYD plug-in hybrid models, the BYD Chazor and the BYD Song Plus DM-i," said BYD in a statement. "It marks an exciting new chapter of electric car innovation in Uzbekistan, a country where the government is actively promoting green and low-carbon transformation, recognising the advantages of new-energy vehicles to reduce emissions and become less dependent on traditional energy resources."
"BYD's go-global strategy is accelerating due to its manufacturing heft and high-quality batteries," said Chen Jinzhu, CEO of consultancy Shanghai Mingliang Auto Service. "Emerging markets like Central Asia and Southeast Asia are its main targets for now."
"I believe the time has come for Chinese brands," said BYD founder and chairman Wang Chuanfu at an event in August, standing in front of an image of the logos of 12 major Chinese automakers. "It's an emotional need for the 1.4 billion Chinese people to see a Chinese brand becoming global."
"BYD is very, very strong," said Volkswagen CEO Oliver Blume during an event at the Shanghai auto show in April. "In the end, not everything is about volume. We want to have a successful business, and it is more important to be the best international group here in China."