Nothing surprises me much when it comes to how fast Chinese companies can ramp up. Below, the introduction of the BYD plug-in electric car is just one example. The other day I was on a customer due diligence call with an Asian customer for a potential investment trying to get a sense of how much revenue can they potentially bring to a young start-up over the next 3-5 years if the technology worked as promised. I was expecting an answer of max $10-30m since the customer is also a barely 2-year old manufacturing company. Guess what number I got back: $300m. I was speechless for a few seconds. I would laugh or joke about it, but the guy on the other side was dead serious!
BYD is planning to bring Chinese-built electric cars to the U.S. market by the third quarter of this year, the company has announced. The one-time maker of batteries for mobile phones, now sells gas-powered cars in South Africa, South America and in China. While the plug-in model it plans to release in the U.S. will lack the polish of Toyota and Nissan’s impending offerings, BYD says its battery life will be double that of its competition.Short for Build Your Dreams, BYD started out with just $300,000 and a goal: to compete with Japanese battery imports. Founder Wang Chuan-Fu began by taking apart Sanyo’s batteries to see how they were made. Just give years after it was founded, the Chinese company became the largest cell phone battery supplier in the world. Today, you’ll find its batteries in your iPhone. It also makes them for most of the Motorola Razrs produced today. So when it says its mission is to become a major auto vendor, it doesn’t seem like such a long-shot.