China's CATL to start battery storage business in Japan with Next Energy

FILE PHOTO: A sign of Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) is seen on its building in Ningde, Fujian province, China August 8, 2018. Picture taken August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

TOKYO/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's electric vehicle battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL) 300750.SZ said it will start offering products to homes and plants in Japan in 2020, as it seeks to expand its global presence and diversify its business.

The Chinese firm will provide batteries under a partnership with Japanese solar power company Next Energy and Resources, which will be responsible for assembling and installing the energy storage systems that they plan to sell on to Japanese utilities and other energy providers, the companies said in a statement.

Tan Libin, vice president of the energy storage business unit at CATL, told reporters that the firm was looking to Japan as the country’s solar power market was expanding and feed-in-tariffs, which had guaranteed minimum power prices to spur solar development, will start to expire later this year.

CATL said their systems will reduce the cost to households as service providers will pay for their installation, while excess power can be stored and transmitted to city grids.

“We hope to quickly assimilate into the local market through in-depth cooperation with local Japanese companies,” said Tan.

CATL, based in Fujian province in southeast China, has strategic agreements with carmakers including SAIC Motor Corp 600104.SS, Geely 0175.HK, BMW BMWG.DE and Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE, Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T and is building its first European production site in Germany.

It is also expanding its business into batteries for ships and storage systems.

Reporting by Yuka Obayashi in TOKYO and Yilei Sun in SHANGHAI; Editing by Brenda Goh and Christian Schmollinger