How China Left the World Far Behind in the Battery Race – by Akshat Rathi (Bloomberg News – October 12, 2023)

(Bloomberg) — This is one of the stories in Akshat Rathi’s new book Climate Capitalism, which is out today. Akshat explains the origin of China’s dominance in the battery market through the lens of CATL, now the world’s largest battery company. This is an adapted excerpt from the book.

It was an admission of defeat. But you would never know it looking at the mild-mannered smiles that morning. Angela Merkel, then German chancellor, was standing next to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. On a partially cloudy summer morning in Berlin in July 2018, both leaders made small talk in between posing for the cameras.

A few feet in front of them, two men in dark suits sat at a desk with identical leather-bound folders open and pens in hand.

Then, with the blessing of the elders standing behind, Zeng Yuqun, CEO of Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited, the world’s largest battery company, and Wolfgang Tiefensee, a minister for the German state of Thuringia, signed an agreement committing the Chinese manufacturing giant to building Germany’s first large electric car battery factory. The moment passed quickly, and few of those present realized the historical importance.

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