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According to reports from South Korean media, the latest quarterly reports from LG, Samsung SDI, and SK On reveal that the combined R&D investment of the three companies totalled KRW 17.8 trillion (approximately $1.38 billion US) from January to September this year. This represents a 12.5% increase compared to KRW 1.58 trillion in the same period last year.

South Korea has always held high expectations for the battery industry. However, in recent years, Chinese battery companies have significantly increased their investment in R&D and innovation. Breakthroughs have been achieved in areas such as ternary polymer lithium battery batteries, LFP batteries, sodium-ion batteries, etc.

This has placed South Korean battery companies, traditionally dominant in ternary polymer battery systems, under intensifying market competition, making technological innovation a pressing issue for these Korean enterprises.

In the realm of LFP batteries, the three major South Korean battery companies have successively announced their entry into this field.

In mid-August, sources revealed that Samsung SDI plans to build a LFP battery production line at its Ulsan plant. In January of this year, a senior executive at SK On stated that the company planned to produce a new LFP EV battery by 2025.

In the realm of solid-state batteries, South Korea had previously announced plans to invest KRW 20 trillion (approximately $15 billion US) by 2030 to deliver the world’s first batch of solid-state batteries and maintain a leading position in the electric vehicle competition.

Beyond technology, the cost of the supply chain is also a weakness for South Korean battery companies. They exhibit high dependence on Chinese imports for core battery minerals such as cobalt and lithium, as well as certain components. Presently, South Korean battery companies are actively advancing cooperation with Chinese enterprises, aiming to establish a stable supply chain.

In September, LG Chem announced the signing of a comprehensive cooperation agreement on cathode materials supply chain with China’s Huayou Cobalt. In March, SK On announced the establishment of a joint venture with a South Korean cathode materials manufacturer and China’s GEM.

Source: WeChat Official Account—电池工业网

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