Production capacity of China’s lead-acid batteries will be cut by 10 to 30 percent in the next few years, leading to under-capacity, according to Xu Hong, secretary-general of the lead-acid division under China Electrical Equipment Industry Association.
Xu said the Chinese government is compressing lead-acid battery production for the sake of environmental protection. However domestic demand keeps on growing.
Since early 2011, Chinese government departments have launched harsh inspections of the lead-acid battery industry to rectify pollution.
Analysts believe the government’s rectification of the lead-acid battery industry since last year has yielded positive results. The industry is becoming concentrated with some of the poor-performance small enterprises wiped out of the marketplace.
Cao Guoqing, deputy secretary-general of the China Battery Industry Association, said by January 2012 the number of China’s licensed lead-acid battery producers was 1,877. But statistics from China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection show that only 315 of them were still in operation by March 22, 2012.
For the time being, lead-acid batteries are still advantageous because of their mature technology, stable performance and cheaper cost, said Yang Yusheng, an academic with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, who supports lead-acid batteries. Yang said the lead-acid batteries are becoming more promising as technological breakthroughs have been made in foreign countries.
Lead-acid batteries have been unfairly blamed for causing pollution, Yang said, adding that lead-acid batteries would not cause pollution if their production process was better controlled and managed.
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in March 2012 set out to solicit opinions on market entry criteria for the lead-acid battery industry. But there is still no timeline for the release of the regulations.