BYD Auto and the Market for Electric Cars: Global Ambitions, Nurtured in China

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : BSTR356 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 300 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Corporate venturing / International expansion / Emerging Chinese global competitors / Electric cars market
Case Length : 24 Pages
Period : 2003-2009
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : BYD Auto
Industry : Auto and Ancillaries
Countries : China, USA


This case is about the corporate venturing of BYD Auto into the market for electric vehicles - both plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and pure electric cars - and exploiting global environmental concerns on sustainability as a business opportunity.

The innovation of electric vehicle technology threatened to disrupt the dynamics of the conventional automobile industry, and BYD Auto sought to capitalize on its strengths in Lithium-ion battery technology based on years of research and development. Analysts felt that BYD Auto's intention of becoming the first Chinese automaker to achieve a leadership position in the US/global auto market was 'ambitious, but practical'.

However, BYD Auto had to face competition from well-established automakers as well as new entrants to this nascent market. Moreover, the evolution and growth of the market for electric vehicles depended to a large extent on the regulatory environment and the availability of charging infrastructure.


Sustainability as a source of big business opportunities in the 21st century
Disruptive technology innovation
Strategic intent, long-term vision, corporate venturing (top-down intrapreneurship)
Resource-based view of the firm
International business strategies of an emerging multinational
The value chain and competitive scope
Role of regulatory environment in an emerging industry
China as a nurturing ground for the next generation of global competitors


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background 2
BYD Auto Ventures into Electric Cars 3
The Domestic Market Potential in China 5
Charging Infrastructure in China 7
BYD Auto Eyes The US Market for Electric Cars 10
'Ambitious but Practical'? 10
Exhibits 12


BYD Auto, BYD Company, Lithium-ion battery technology, Wang Chuanfu, Plug-in hybrid cars, Pure electric cars, Environmental sustainability, Energy security, Fossil fuels, Low emission vehicles, Charging stations, Fuel efficiency, Greenhouse gases, Total cost of ownership, Low carbon technologies, Tesla Roadster, Better Place, Coulomb Technologies Inc, Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, Renault-Nissan Alliance

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