BYD said on Wednesday it has produced a total of 5 million electric vehicles, a landmark that comes almost three decades after the company was launched in 1995. Chairman Wang Chuanfu choked up at a press conference in Shenzhen, wiping away tears as he called on domestic rivals to strive for leadership in the global market. 

Why it matters: The milestone reflects the accelerated shift towards green energy vehicles in the world’s biggest auto market, where Chinese manufacturers are revving up to compete with global automakers.

  • It took BYD, originally a consumer electronics battery maker, almost two decades to achieve an output of 1 million EVs in May 2021, following its acquisition of domestic automaker Qinchuan Automobile in 2003. 
  • The company then reached a landmark 3 million just 18 months later and accelerated again to hit 5 million vehicles nine months after that. 

Details: During the 50-minute press conference, Wang detailed the ups and downs of China’s largest electric carmaker, including how its plug-in hybrid technology was initially met with skepticism before becoming a mainstream vehicle segment.

  • Wang foresees Chinese automakers establishing “world-class, respectable” car brands as the global auto industry transforms rapidly. In a show of solidarity, BYD exhibited multiple rivals’ EVs outside the venue at its headquarters in Shenzhen, including models from Great Wall, Zeekr, and Xpeng Motors. 
  • Additionally, Wang estimated that new energy vehicles, including all-electrics and plug-in hybrids, will account for 60% of new car sales in China in 2025 and that Chinese brands will take a 70% share of the country’s auto market by that time. 
Mobility new energy vehicles electric vehicles EV byd denza china PHEV
BYD showcased a dozen of Chinese-branded EV models, including rival Li Auto’s L9 and GAC’s Hyper GT outside the conference venue at its headquarters in Shenzhen on Wednesday, August 9, 2023. Credit: Supercharged/Chang Yan

Context: The combined market share of domestic automakers rose by 5.8% year-on-year to 53.2% in July in the Chinese passenger vehicle market, according to figures published by the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) on Tuesday.

  • The market shares of German and US brands slightly declined to 20.8% and 7.7% respectively, while Japanese carmakers accounted for 15.8% of the total Chinese auto market, down 5% from a year ago, the CPCA figures showed. 
  • Experts have suggested global carmakers take lessons from the Chinese industry so as to stay competitive in the coming years. 
  • Advisory firm AlixPartners predicts that global car sales from Chinese companies could grow in market share from 16% last year to 30% in 2030.

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: or Twitter: @yushan_shen