Wang Chuanfu king of electric cars in China
By: Fedora Atjeh | 11/06/2017 11:50:00 PM
Wang Chuan-Fu is the founder and largest shareholder of BYD (Build Your Dreams), the manufacturer of the best-selling electric cars in China. The company, based in Shenzhen, employs about 180,000 people and had revenues of more than 15,000 million dollars in 2016. In addition to automobiles and buses, it also manufactures rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries for use in mobile phones.
Wang has become the richest person in the country, and is often compared to Elon Musk. His ambitious plan to manufacture electric cars, energy-saving stations and even solar-powered vehicles was not well received back in 2003, but in 2015, BYD became the world's largest producer of electric cars. "Changing the way we consume energy" is its maxim.
#From mobile batteries to bus fleets
The history of BYD begins in 1995, when Wang founded BYD Company to meet the demand for rechargeable mobile phone batteries. Nowadays, it is the main supplier of this industry, with clients such as Motorola, Nokia, LG and Siemens. But going back to environmentalist Wang's dream, it was not until 2003 when he announced his intention to manufacture vehicles, the year in which he built his first large battery production factory.
As Bloomerg reports, this proposal did not excite investors, some of whom abandoned it (with the consequent fall in shares). But the strong conviction of turning BYD into a global and technological brand meant that in 2007, the launch of its F3 electric car became a sales success in China. Its elegant design and impeccable level of technology made it worthy of 68 distinctions in its first year of sales.
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It was then when one of the largest investors in the world (and second on the Forbes list), Warren Buffet, bought 10% of the company. Wang then founded his first factory for the production of solar panels, and a year later began to manufacture the e-bus, an electric bus 12 meters long and an autonomy of 250 km per recharge.
The meteoric rise of the brand (in 2015 BYD became the world's largest producer of electric cars while the electric car market tripled in China) has a chance to improve, as China is taking the end of the combustion engines and soon we will see the end of the production and sale of this type of vehicles.
Today, BYD has a brand value of almost 1,800 million dollars; In 2016 it sold 100,183 new electric vehicles and its electric buses circulate in 200 cities around the world. It also has a large presence in Europe: 34 taxis e6 in Brussels and 20 in London, buses in the Netherlands, Serbia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Romania ... However, the bulk of the clientele is still in China.
As revealed by Wang in an interview to EVobession, BYD does not really see Tesla as a competitor. The market is huge, leaving room for growth; More than competitors, Tesla and BYD are partners in the growth of the transition to electric vehicles.
In addition, Tesla currently sells to a high-end market, while BYD serves more accessible markets, so they are simply in quite different segments.
Wang was born in 1966 into a humble family and was raised by his brothers after becoming an orphan. He focused his life on the study of Chemistry, since it was the only thing he could do, and he ended up being a fundamental piece in the transition to clean energies.