Samsung may place a US$450m bet on electric cars and batteries

The company is negotiating to buy a stake in a well-known Chinese electric car maker

Samsung Electronics is on the verge of making a substantial investment in BYD, a Chinese manufacturer of electric cars and batteries.

The Samsung investment comes as its chief rivals are investing in car tech and the market for car battery technology continues to grow.

The investment was first reported by the Korea Economic Daily, which said Samsung will pay 3 billion yuan (US$450 million) for a 4 percent share of BYD. BYD later confirmed the two are in talks but did not confirm the investment size.

"Going forward, the parties will jointly seize opportunities in the rapid development of the global electric vehicles industry and promote sustainable development of the parties’ electric vehicles related businesses," BYD said in a regulatory filing.

BYD is a well-known name in China and sold more than 60,000 electric cars last year. It's hoping to double that this year.

Samsung is far from the only tech company looking to gain a foothold in the automobile market.

Apple recently spent $1 billion to buy a stake in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi and is widely rumored to be developing its own car.

Nearby in Silicon Valley, Google is developing self-driving car technology and its prototype vehicles are a common sight on the streets around its Mountain View headquarters.

Traditional automakers like General Motors, Toyota, and Nissan are also investing heavily in new technology for electric cars and automated driving. Electric car maker Tesla is building a massive battery factory with Panasonic.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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