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SK Innovation to invest W580b in second Chinese battery plant

South Korea’s SK Innovation announced Wednesday that it would invest 579.9 billion won ($488.3 million) to build a second electric vehicle battery factory in China, an effort to enhance its presence in the world’s biggest auto and EV market.

According to SK Innovation, the investment decision was made Tuesday during a board meeting. The company did not specify its Chinese partner, the location of the new plant or its production capacity.

SK Innovation said the goal of the investment was to enhance the company’s partnership with China and keep up with the increasing number of orders for EV batteries globally. With its production bases overseas, the company said it expects to have a production capacity of 60 gigawatt-hours by 2022. 

SK Innovation.
SK Innovation.

“In order to seize the initiative in the fast-growing EV battery industry, we believe we have to make (this) investment at the right moment,” said SK Innovation. “It is a part of our strategy of joint growth and cooperative production with China.”

SK Innovation’s first EV battery plant in China was built last August, when the company broke ground in Changzhou, Jiangsu province. The project was a joint venture with Beijing Electronics Holding and BAIC Motor Corp Ltd.

Though it is widely considered a latercomer to the battery market, SK Innovation has been investing aggressively in the EV battery business. Last year it began work on factories in Hungary and the US, in addition to the one in China.

Last November, the company said it would spend 1.14 trillion won to build a 9.8-gigawatt-hour EV battery plant in the US. The factory in Jackson County, Georgia, is scheduled to begin production in 2022.