What happened: An analysis by Quartz of data from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) shows electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer BYD received approximately $1 billion in subsidies on the 100,000 vehicles it manufactured and sold in 2016. Despite this government support and increased sales in the world’s largest EV market, BYD saw profits decline 31% in 2018 from a year earlier. Additional analysis of MIIT data suggests that between local and central governments, at least $60 billion was spent on the EV industry from 2009 to 2017.
Why it’s important: With 400-plus companies jostling for a share in China’s crowded EV market, this insight into the extent of the government’s efforts to drive growth sheds some light on the overall health of the industry. It also reflects China’s institutionally backed efforts to cut carbon emissions, although a Finance Ministry announcement of planned subsidy cuts has some manufacturers bracing for losses. But with public transportation displacing huge amounts of fossil fuel demand and foreign companies like Tesla looking to expand their presence in the country, China’s EV scene continues to mature.