On June 9, Yibin was awarded as China’s Power Battery Capital at the 2023 World Power Battery Conference, with the China National Light Industry Council and the China Battery Industry Association jointly awarding it the medal.

From obscurity in the industry to becoming China’s Power Battery Capital, Yibin has taken less than five years to leap up with the introduction of CATL in 2019.

Rapid Improvement in Scientific Research Strength

Before the title of China’s Power Battery Capital, Yibin was known as China’s Liquor Capital credit to the city’s long history of liquor making and productions of famous liquors for thousands of years. So when people think about the city, the first impression is more traditional than inventory, but the competitiveness of updated scientific research is one of the main drivers nowadays to moving forward from traditional industries to new industries.

Therefore, from the moment Yibin planned to develop its power battery industry, companies kept asking the local investment department whether or not Yibin had the scientific research strength to match the power battery industry as a new industry

The answer from Yibin is clear based on Yibin’s National Economic and Social Development Statistics Bulletin in recent years.

The first is in the development of science and technology. In 2022, Yibin obtained 275 authorized invention patents, and 39 new enterprises approved the use of special signs for geographical indication products. The annual operating income of the industrial high-tech industry above the scale was 163.522 billion yuan.

As a comparison, in 2021, the above three categories of data are 168 pieces, 5 and 103.073 billion yuan, respectively. In terms of the growth rate of business income achieved by industrial high-tech industries above the scale, for example, the growth rate in 2022 was 58.7% compared with 2021.

In 2022, Yibin had 60 provincial and municipal-level engineering and technology research centers, 306 high-tech enterprises, 418 technology contracts registered for the year, and the registered amount of technology contracts recognized at 2.336 billion yuan.

In 2021, the above four categories of data were 52, 200, 223, and 1.469 billion yuan, and if compared with 2020, Yibin’s improvement was even more rapid. There were only 32 provincial and municipal engineering and technology research centers, 150 high-tech enterprises, 160 technology contracts were registered throughout the year, and the registration amount of technology contracts was recognized at 1.038 billion yuan.

Secondly, Yibin’s industrial investment grew against the trend. While the growth rate of Yibin’s total social fixed asset investment has been declining in recent years, the growth rate of secondary industry and industrial investment has been growing against the trend.

Taking the data of 2021 and 2022 as an example, in 2022 the growth rate of the whole society’s fixed asset investment slowed down by 2 percentage points compared with 2021, the investment in secondary industry grew by 26.3% in 2022, including industrial investment grew by 27.8%, which increased by 10.4 percentage points and 9.7 percentage points compared with 2021 respectively.

„At present, power battery technology innovation in Sichuan Province is unprecedentedly active.“ Jing Maoming, deputy director of the Sichuan Provincial Department of Economy and Information Technology, said at the 2023 World Power Battery press conference.

He mentioned Yibin in particular, „By playing the leading role of academician workstations, academician innovation centers, and other top research teams, and supporting the construction of Sichuan new energy vehicle innovation center and other innovation platforms, Yibin has carried out more than 20 R&D projects on high-security power batteries, battery low-temperature range technology, heavy truck power exchange system, skid plate chassis, etc., and obtained 77 authorized patents, with relevant technical achievements have been promoted and applied in the leading electric vehicle models in national sales.“

The power battery ecosystem is gradually becoming a trend

Before being awarded the title of China’s Power Battery, the China National Light Industry Council and the China Battery Industry Association organized a group of experts to inspect Yibin. The expert group believes that Yibin has obvious advantages in power battery industry clustering, a complete industry chain, a clear development path, strong policy measures, and strong development momentum, therefore, Yibin meets the criteria for the title.

In terms of an industry gathering, public data shows that Yibin’s power battery industry layout has been continuously improved, and has gathered six major battery components, including battery cells, positive and negative materials, structural parts, copper (aluminum) foil, diaphragm, and electrolyte, as well as conductive slurry, production equipment and other industry chain projects with a total investment of over 210 billion yuan, and has initially built up a „1+ N“ power battery green closed-loop whole industry chain ecosystem from raw materials, components to complete vehicles, and then to battery recycling.

In the policy end, in recent years, Sichuan introduced the implementation of the Electric Sichuan action plan to promote the promotion and application of new energy vehicles in various fields, and accelerate the construction of infrastructure. Take Yibin as an example, through the full implementation of the Electric Yibin project, Yibin has created ten new application scenarios, such as the replacement of heavy trucks, the future city, vehicle-road synergy, etc. Up to now, more than 9,000 charging interfaces have been built in Yibin, basically forming an energy replenishment network with a radius of less than 2 km for the coverage of charging facilities in the central city.

On the industrial side, in 2022, the total output value of Yibin’s power battery industry reached 88.9 billion yuan, an increase of 4.5 times. According to Yibin’s 2023 government work report, Yibin’s key tasks this year include making full effort to build a global first-class power battery industry cluster, striving to achieve revenue of more than 120 billion yuan for the whole industry chain, and adding a new 100-billion-level industry cluster.

Since June 2022, Yibin has signed nearly 250 projects with a total agreed investment of over 250 billion yuan, including manufacturing projects with a total investment of over 210 billion yuan, accounting for more than 85% of the total investment.

Not only a single city Yibin, the entire Sichuan Province has now included the power battery industry as one of the province’s future key industries. „The next step we will rely on lithium resources, green power energy and other advantages, and strive to build Sichuan into one of the world’s most complete power battery industry chains, the most comprehensive competitiveness of the region.“ Jing Maoming said.

(Source: The China Project, 2023 World Power Battery Conference)