The market for lead-acid batteries in China has expanded strongly in the past year, concurrent with the fast-rising China auto industry. As reported in a new GCiS market study, this market will continue to rise at between 2-3 times the China GDP rate in the next five years. The size of the market in 2006 was estimated at a little more than $2 billion, and should nearly double by 2011. An increasing share of market is now controlled by foreign-invested companies, who have developed a strong presence in this market since China’s entry into the WTO. Leading foreign suppliers in this market include Delphi, Johnson Controls, and C&D, along with several top domestic suppliers.
Recent developments in China are expected to have a significant impact on this market, the report notes. First, lead prices are finally returning to their pre-1995 levels, after several years of substantial increase. Second, the Chinese government has removed restrictions on use of electric vehicles in many key Chinese cities- increasing demand for battery application for the growing number of these vehicles. Lead acid batteries are a key component in some of China’s fastest growing industries.
Competition in this market is high with a large number of suppliers competing on price. In addition, the research by GCiS indicates that a large number of customers are willing to change suppliers, and show less supplier loyalty than was thought. Further opportunities in this market lie in rapid increase of domestic Chinese demand, in both the automotive and UPS sectors. Research shows that this market is able to adapt to new technologies quickly, and market sources report an increase in demand for valve-regulated batteries.