China's International City | How Yibin Becomes the Global Capital of Power Batteries?

Author: Violet Chen Sep 26, 2023 10:33 AM (GMT+8)

China boasts to have many marvelous cities that keep low profiles among the public while holding pivotal shares in related industries and markets. These cities, along with surrounding towns and villages, form clusters centered around a certain industry. Through close collaboration, they have developed into significant forces at home and abroad.


In terms of going global, the efficiency of supply chains is always regarded as the core competitiveness of Chinese brands. Meanwhile, the smooth operation of supply chains behind the big picture lies in the backup of these cities. The series "China's international city" will uncover the veil of the grand narrative of globalization and focus on the capillary-like cities of the manufacturing powerhouse, vividly showcasing the difficulties and changes in China's supply chain. This issue will focus on Yibin City, Sichuan Province.

Yibin City, located at the intersection of three rivers in Sichuan Province, has abundant water resources and it is also a national transportation hub city. In this case, Yibin has unique advantages in the development of the new energy industry. Under the leadership of CATL (宁德时代), Yibin has vigorously developed the power battery industry. As of November 2022, Yibin's production of power batteries accounts for 12.6% of the national total, it is known as the "Capital of Power Batteries in China".

In July 2022, the first World Power Battery Conference was held in Yibin, which was the world's first world-class power battery industry event. At the conference, Yibin signed nearly 100 battery industry chain projects with a total contract amount of over CNY 210 billion, which is expected to promote high-quality collaborative development of the global power battery industry.

At present, Yibin has built a full industry chain of power batteries from upstream basic materials, midstream 6 battery components, and downstream power battery cells and supporting services. In 2022, the output value of the power battery industry reached CNY 88.9 billion, with a year-on-year growth of 4.5 times. Yibin has also become one of the regions with the most complete global power battery industry chain and the strongest supporting capacity.

From Baijiu City to Power Battery City

Yibin City, Sichuan Province, is located at the junction of the Yangtze River, Jinsha River and Minjiang River, which has created a relatively developed brewing industry in history and is known as the "Capital of Chinese Baijiu". Due to its advantageous transportation location and excellent resources, many power battery related  industries gather here, making Yibin the core area of the trillion level power battery industry and the most important power battery industry cluster in China.

In 2017, the Libode (锂宝新材料) and Guangyuan Lithium Electric(光原锂电项目) settled in Yibin, officially launching the development path of the power battery industry in Yibin. In November of the following year, Tianyi Lithium (天宜锂业), a lithium battery material company with billions of CNY investment from CATL (宁德时代), was registered and established in Yibin, further promoting the development of the power battery industry in Yibin.

In 2019, CATL signed a Sichuan Contemporary power battery project with Yibin City, establishing a wholly-owned subsidiary called Sichuan Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (四川时代) and settling in Yibin. As of now, the Sichuan Contemporary project has settled 10 phases, with a total investment of CNY 56 billion and an area of approximately 5800 acres. It is the world's largest power battery production base.

In 2020, CATL invested another CNY 10 billion to expand its power battery project. Under the leadership of leading enterprises, power battery related enterprises gathered in Yibin. For instance, CATL Geely (时代吉利) and other power battery cell production projects have settled one after another, diaphragm materials firm Sinoma (中材锂膜) and battery structural components enterprise Kedali (科达利) have started building factories, other supporting enterprises in sub fields have also joined. Since then, Yibin has made every effort to develop the power battery, from upstream and downstream to core supporting industries, creating a "1+N" power battery industry ecosystem.

In 2023, the Second World Power Battery Conference was held in Yibin, with the theme of "Green New Power · World New Energy". The power battery green and low-carbon travel exhibition at the conference has a display area of over 50,000 square meters, established 8 specialized areas, attracted 388 participating companies and institutions, as well as hundreds of thousands of visitors worldwide. At the conference, Yibin was officially awarded the title of "Capital of Power Batteries in China".

From January to April 2023, the power battery industry in Yibin City achieved an output value of CNY 26.94 billion, with a year-on-year growth of 34.5%. So far, Yibin has signed contracts with a production capacity of 225GWh, gathering nearly 110 multi-field industrial chain projects, and a total investment of over CNY 270 billion. It is expected to produce over 70GWh of power batteries and achieve an output value of over CNY 50 billion this year.

Why Yibin?

CATL has established 13 power battery production bases globally, with Yibin being the first. The advantages of transportation and energy have created conditions for the industrial agglomeration of Yibin, while the efficient working mechanism and good business environment also have a strong attraction for enterprises.

Yibin has abundant green power resources, with nearly 7 million kilowatts of installed capacity, which can reduce carbon emissions by 400,000 tons annually. In order to actively respond to the vision of carbon neutrality, the CATL Yibin Base has been built towards the Xiangjiaba Hydropower Station, with over 80% of the factory's energy coming from renewable hydropower. Green power resources not only meet the emission reduction and carbon reduction requirements of enterprises in production and manufacturing, but also promote the full life cycle carbon neutrality of power batteries and innovative green development of industrial clusters. In 2022, Sichuan Contemporary became the world's first zero carbon battery factory.

Besides that, as a national transportation hub, Yibin can not only arrive in four provinces quickly, including Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, and Chongqing, but also be exported to the Eurasian market. Exporting goods from Yibin Port to Europe can save half a month compared to other parts of China, greatly improving the transportation efficiency of products. In addition, waterway transportation also has obvious advantages, such as low-carbon environmental protection and low cost.

The development speed of Sichuan Contemporary in Yibin is also inseparable from the strong support of the government. Official data shows that the approval deadline for engineering projects in Yibin City has been reduced by an average of nearly 70%, and the external service time has increased by 89.67% year-on-year, helping Sichuan Contemporary projects to quickly implement and achieve results.

Next, Yibin will strengthen the CNY 300 billion power battery industry cluster, promote the development and upgrading of the new energy industry, and create the world's largest power battery production base and core supporting production base, technology research and development base, and talent training base, opening up a new era of high-quality development.

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