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China’s “dreamchild” is stealthily winning the battery race


IN AMERICA, IF you want to dominate an industry, you channel your inner Elon Musk and shout about it. But CATL, the Chinese company that makes batteries for some of Mr Musk’s Tesla electric vehicles (EVs), is different. When your columnist first contacted it in 2017, the brush-off was swift. “We want to concentrate on our products only and do not accept any interviews at present.” These days it is only marginally less blunt. “Unfortunately, we are sorry that it’s hard for us to arrange [interviews] at the moment.” The temptation is to give it a dose of its own medicine and ignore it.

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And yet in 2017 the firm, founded only six years earlier as Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd, vaulted from being the world’s third-largest battery-maker to its biggest. It has since reached a market value of 1.3trn yuan…

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