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Korea, Japan vie in secondary batteries

Posted October. 02, 2000 12:05,   


Korean and Japanese companies have begun an intensive competition over the secondary battery market.

Samsung SDI announced that it would supply a next-generation lithium polymer battery to Samsung Electronics starting Oct. 1. The lithium polymer batter that Samsung Electronics will use for its new cellular phone Olympic Phone features 10% to 20% higher energy density with 170 watts per kilogram.

As Samsung SDI will monthly produces more than 200,000 starting next year, it is expected to substitute more than 200 billion won worth of imports annually.

In the secondary batter market, Japanese firms such as Sanyo, Sony and Matsushita account for more than 90% of the market. Yet Japanese firms have just begun producing lithium polymer batteries. Korean companies such as Samsung SKI, LG Chemical and SKC are planning to pose strong challenges against their Japanese competitors.

In particular, Samsung SDI has secured the source technology of lithium sulfur batteries from PolyPlus Battery Company of the United States, ahead of Japanese companies, and will begin mass production from 2004.

Japan's secondary battery makers still are predominant in the market, but Korean companies are chasing them. Unlike the primary batteries, the secondary lithium batteries are rechargeable.

The global demand for the product is 400 million units this year and is estimated to grow to 800 million in 2005.