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China still the best bet for batteries

Tue, 07/30/2013 - 18:36 -- Ruth Williams

Demand for batteries in China is forecast to increase 13% annually to RMB259 billion (US$42bn) in 2016, according to a new study from the Beijing office of The Freedonia Group, Inc.

Growth will be driven by a continuing shift in the product mix toward higher-value secondary batteries, rising ownership of high-drain electronic products by Chinese consumers, and expanding production of motor vehicles and electronics. The export of battery containing products - in particular cellular phones, laptop computers, and other portable devices - will further spur battery demand in China. China maintains a trade surplus in batteries, with exports accounting for nearly 24% of battery shipments in 2011.

Demand for secondary batteries in China is projected to rise 13.5% per annum through 2016 to RMB239 billion (US$38.9). Rechargeable lithium batteries will post the strongest growth, expanding over 16% annually over this period. Demand for these batteries will be primarily driven by their superior performance attributes - such as a higher power density ratio and longer product lifespan - compared to competing chemistries. The expanding range of applications, continuing technological innovation, and decreasing prices will further boost gains.

Lead-acid batteries will remain the largest segment, accounting for 55% of the secondary battery market total in 2016. The transportation equipment market will be principally responsible for advances in secondary battery demand. Demand in this market is expected to grow nearly 17% per annum through 2016, benefiting from expanding production and a growing market for electric bicycles, motorcycles, and motor vehicles.

The portable devices battery market will increase nearly 12% annually through 2016. Gains will be supported by rising consumer electronics production and increasing exports.