2009 BYD F3DM - Click above for high-res image gallery
You don't get to hold the title of The Richest Person in the World – a title oft-owned by either Bill Gates or Warren Buffett at any given time – without knowing how to make sound financial decisions. While not all of Warren Buffett's investments end up raking in tons of money, his procurement of a ten-percent stake in Chinese automaker BYD less than one year ago has already earned his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. some $1 billion.
Driving the rapid rise in BYD's value are its investments in hybrid automobiles like the plug-in F3DM and, even more importantly, high-tech lithium iron phosphate batteries. A recent partnership with Volkswagen and possible tie-ups with Ford and others have proven the worth of that energy storage technology for automotive use and the company is already China's largest producer of rechargeable batteries for portable electronics.
BYD Chief Executive Officer Wang Chuanfu has publicly stated his company's plan to more than double global sales this year with new models and additional export deals, which could include the United States as early as 2011. With all of this in mind, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Buffett bolstered his investment Sunday night by acquiring an additional 225 million shares of BYD stock.