Li Ka-shing, one of the world's wealthiest people, has made his first strides into the green energy industry with a major investment in Hong Kong's Sinopoly Battery. (File Photo/CSS)
Hong Kong business tycoon Li Ka-shing has become the second-largest shareholder in Sinopoly Battery, a producer of energy-storage batteries used in electric vehicles, according to the Guangzhou-based 21st Century Business Herald.
The newspaper said Li had acquired 1.2 billion shares — an 11% stake — in Hong Kong-based Sinopoly, with a total investment of HK$720 million (US$92.7 million). The purchases, made in four batches, included 600 million shares under Li's name and 600 million under the names of two mutual funds he controls. The acquisition is Li's biggest investment in any new energy company thus far, said the newspaper.
Chinese scientist Ma Zifeng told the Herald on the sidelines of an energy forum held in Hong Kong on Dec. 28 that while storage batteries are vital to the alternative energy industry, most firms are only engaged in energy generation. As a result, said Ma, the development of the batteries is relatively slow. He predicted that energy-storage batteries will become a larger market than that for batteries used to power electric vehicles.
Ma cited China Mobile as an example, saying the telecom plans to use lithium batteries to replace the backup power system at its base stations, a business opportunity worth over 8 billion yuan (US$1.27 billion). Chen Jian, general manager of Sinopoly, said the company was named the battery supplier for China Mobile's 200 base stations in Henan province.
With a production capacity of 120 million amperes per year, Chen said Sinopoly is the biggest lithium battery producer in China and will try to integrate with its downstream and upstream companies over the next year.
Li Ka-shing 李嘉誠