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Brutal culling awaits China’s EV battery makers as support ends

Even top players like CATL and BYD are likely to feel the pain

BYD's electric cars on display in Guangzhou. The producer of electric vehicles and batteries has led the pack of Chinese manufacturers reaping generous subsidies. (Photo by Takashi Kawakami)

GUANGZHOU -- Only top electric-vehicle battery makers like Contemporary Amperex Technology, or CATL, and BYD are expected to be left standing when the Chinese government ends in 2020 the generous subsidies that have helped foster a domestic industry and kept less nimble players afloat.

China has poured more than $10 billion into the EV battery industry since around 2012, giving rise to several hundred manufacturers. But that support is scheduled to end in 2020 as part of a phaseout that began in 2017 as Beijing seeks to encourage companies to cut costs and become more competitive. One expert says of the 90 manufacturers operating in 2018, only 20 or so will survive.

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