According to the Japanese newspaper Nikkei, Panasonic will ramp up its lithium-ion battery production in China in an effort to reduce manufacturing costs by approximately 30 percent. Panasonic wants to retain its position among the world's top lithium-ion battery manufacturers through cost cutting measures, says the Nikkei. With South Korean rivals now offering comparable technology at a lower price point, Panasonic will rely upon shifting more production to China in order to position itself to compete.
Panasonic, along with partner Sanyo, had a combined 26 percent share of the worldwide lithium-ion battery industry in 2010. Panasonic is looking to invest 20 to 30 billion yen ($244 to $366 million U.S. at the current exchange rate) by the end of 2012 to boost production in China by constructing an additional factory and upgrading existing facilities. According to the Nikkei, Panasonic can currently crank out 120 million li-ion cells per month, of which 80 to 90 percent come from the battery maker's facilities in Japan and the rest coming from China. By 2015, Panasonic sees its Chinese sites producing approximately half of the company's annual output of li-ion cells.
[Source: Nikkei (sub. req.) via Green Car Congress]