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Reuters/Yilei Sun
A BYD concept car.
HOLDING UP

China’s electric-vehicle giant saw its profits jump 204% in a slowing car market

By Echo Huang

BYD, China’s largest electric car maker, has been under a lot of pressure in the last two years, with China’s auto market slowing and Beijing phasing out subsidies that supported the electric-vehicle market’s astronomical growth.

But BYD’s managed to post some pretty profit numbers nonetheless. Net profit in the six months ended June increased 204% to 1.45 billion yuan ($210 million) from 479 million yuan ($68 million) in the same period a year ago. In the first six months of both 2017 and 2018, BYD posted year-on-year declines.

BYD’s EV sales for the first six months of the year grew 95% to 145,653 units (link in Chinese) from the same period in 2018. That’s mostly thanks to the EV sales in the first three months—which went up 147% compared to the first quarter of 2018giving a more than 600% boost to its profits for the quarter. BYD said that its EV market share in China has increased to 24% in the first half of 2019 from 20% in the same period a year ago.

The remaining half-year looks more uncertain in terms of sales. The Shenzhen-based, Warren Buffett-backed carmaker just had a rough month in July—sales of pure electric and plug-in hybrids were down 12% from a year earlier as the slowdown in conventional car sales appeared to spread to the EV sector. Meanwhile, China’s move to slash per car subsidies to manufacturers effective late June will hurt profit margins.

China’s overall auto sales continue to weaken. Monthly sales were down 12.1% to 1.8 million units in July, marking the 13th consecutive month of declines for the broader sector. EV sales saw their first monthly decline in nearly two years, dropping 4.7% to 80,000 units.

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