The Reach of BYD’s Network

A person seating in front of a steering wheel with the BYD logo.

Photo by Joshua Fernandez for Unsplash

In recent months, Chinese electric vehicle (EV) giant BYD has made headlines by announcing its interest to build a manufacturing plant in Mexico. Their intended factory—still pending on its precise location—comes at a time of growing interest from Chinese companies in Mexico’s economy and would signify one of the largest endeavors to date.

However, despite current press coverage of the announcement, BYD’s plans go beyond Mexico. Over the last couple of years, the company has positioned itself as one of the best prepared to tackle the rapidly growing EV market around the globe. Today, they operate in over 70 countries—more than even Tesla’s current 66.

So, given their prominence and their ever increasing role in the auto sector, we thought it would be worth analyzing their true impact. And, in turn, we found evidence for BYD’s global vision.

To start, it is worth noting that BYD’s ascent has been a slow and strategic march. In the span of 30 years, the company went from a small battery manufacturer in China to a global superpower in the EV business. Their first EV—the BYD 3—only entered the market in 2003, as the company’s main focus was still the development of rechargeable batteries. However, it was enough to gain global attention and even the investment of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway in 2008.

Now, more than a decade after the Berkshire investment, BYD sells over 200,000 EVs a quarter with a complex logistics system. Its sales have reached such levels that, by the end of 2023, they had surpassed Tesla as the largest EV producer in the world—although they soon lost the title within the first quarter of 2024.

To build this dominance over EVs, BYD has had to build a global network that reaches into every country in the world except Antarctica. Their network is so far-reaching, in fact, that they recently acquired their own cargo ship to transport their vehicles and reduce costs.

Tesla and BYD Quarterly Vehicle Delivery

A bar graph showing the quarterly vehicle sales for Tesla and BYD between Q12023 and Q12024

(Data from Tridens and Statista)

Given BYD’s recent announcement around building a factory in Mexico, we wanted to look more closely at the current reach the company currently has. In total, we were able to map 74 that have some form of BYD presence from vehicle sales to full blown factories. BYD itself lists a number of these nations in its own website, although we, at Auba, found evidence of an additional seven countries with current BYD operations (Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Lichtenstein, IrelandVietnam, and the Bahamas).

Countries with BYD Presence as of 2024

A map showing the countries in the BYD network including those with sales points, factories, offices, or currently under consideration for expansion.

(Data from BYD and Auba Research)

As our map shows, BYD currently reaches most of the developed world while also entering developing markets in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. As far as operations go, we found evidence for BYD headquarters or manufacturing facilities in 11 countries, including India, Malaysia, Germany, and the US. In China alone, the company has over 20 factories, as well as its global headquarters in Shenzhen.

We also found that Mexico is not alone in gaining interest from the company. Recently, BYD has held talks about opening facilities in South Africa, and Azerbaijan. Not to mention that, at the moment, the company is building further facilities in Brazil and Thailand, expanding its reach to South America and strengthening its manufacturing capabilities in South East Asia.

All this shows that BYD is far more connected than one would initially expect. Despite the recent focus on its plans to expand to Mexico, the company already has vast coverage of Latin America and entry points to the rest of North America. Mexico might be crucial in the company’s expansion, but it would be mistaken to assume that BYD would focus on a single country.