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Inside CATL’s massive battery factory and the city that supports it

The CATL's headquarters is so large that it makes up a suburb of the city of Ningde.
Published This article is more than 2 years old.

In 2017, only six years after it was founded, CATL became the world’s largest electric-vehicle battery supplier, beating out stalwarts like Panasonic, LG, and Samsung to get there.

As it grew to these levels, the company was building out its headquarters in the city of Ningde, in China’s southeastern province of Fujian. Ningde wasn’t chosen at random—it’s the hometown of CATL’s 51-year-old founder, Zeng Yuqun. And such was his love for the place, that CATL’s Chinese name 宁德时代, means literally “Ningde era.”

In 2018, when CATL listed on the the Shenzhen stock exchange, Yuqun and three others became billionaires. The company growth that led to that windfall is reflected in swelling of its host city, as well.

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