Under The Aura Of The Nobel Prize, Can The Lithium-ion Battery Industry Welcome?

- Oct 28, 2019-

Under the aura of the Nobel Prize, can the lithium-ion battery industry welcome?

On October 9, the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was won by three "Godfather" scientists of lithium-ion batteries, and the lithium-ion battery industry received unprecedented attention. At present, the production and installed capacity of lithium-ion batteries in China ranks first in the world, but the lithium-ion battery market is rapidly shuffling under the pressure of a sharp decline in subsidies, a continuous increase in technology thresholds, and an increasingly tight corporate capital chain. How will the Nobel Prize's aura affect the lithium-ion battery industry?

Domestic lithium-ion battery concept stocks are red

On October 9th, local time in Sweden, American scientists John Gudinav and Stanley Whitingham and Japanese scientist Yoshino Akira won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The Nobel Committee said that the research of these three scientists made the use of lithium-ion batteries more stable, which opened up the portable process of electronic devices and laid the foundation for building a wireless Internet society. It is reported that the three will distribute an average of 9 million Swedish kronor (about RMB 6.46 million).

It is interesting to note that among these three scientists, Gudinav, known as the "father of lithium-ion batteries," has set the highest age record for Nobel laureates at the age of 97. Gudi Naf invented lithium cobalt oxide battery when he was 58 years old. At the age of 75, he changed the world again with lithium iron phosphate battery. After 90 years old, he began to study all solid-state batteries.

In the eyes of the industry, this "tethering long-distance running" of "taming" lithium ions has opened the curtain of energy change and will change our lives.

Liu Yanlong, secretary-general of the China Chemical and Physical Power Industry Association, is also excited about this Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the lithium-ion battery industry. He also believes that this is expected. "Lithium-ion batteries have already entered everyone's life." He told the China Business Daily that the results of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry have boosted the lithium-ion battery industry and recognized the past research results of lithium-ion batteries. It is also optimistic about its future market prospects. In addition, lithium-ion batteries play an important role in the transformation and upgrading of clean energy. He can store huge energy from solar energy and wind energy, and is expected to make a big impact on power storage in the future.

This news has made the lithium-ion battery industry unprecedentedly high.

On October 10, domestic lithium-ion battery concept stocks generally rose. As of the close of the day, multiple stocks were active. Among them, Guoguang and Xuelaite both pulled out the daily limit. It is understood that the A-share lithium-ion battery related listed companies have a large lineup. According to statistics, the number of lithium-ion battery companies reached 92, and the latest market value reached 1.16 trillion, including a number of leading enterprises in the Ningde era, BYD, Yiwei Lithium, Tianqi Lithium, Yanfeng Lithium, and Pioneer Intelligence. .

In this regard, some market participants said that the news caused a related wave of stocks to rise in the short term, but the long-term performance of the stock price still depends on the company's performance, investors need to be alert to the risk of speculation.

Lithium-ion batteries are everywhere

Lei Jun, founder of Xiaomi Group, expressed his respect to the three goddesses of lithium-ion batteries on Weibo. "Now lithium-ion batteries have been widely used, thanks to the great contributions of these three scientists." In fact, for lithium-ion batteries, ordinary people are no strangers, and they have been widely used in mobile phones, tablets, notebook computers and other portable electronic devices.

A lithium-ion battery is a rechargeable battery that relies on lithium ions to move between the positive and negative electrodes to work. The upstream raw materials of the lithium-ion battery industry mainly include nickel, cobalt, manganese, lithium ore and graphite ore, thereby forming positive and negative materials, electrolytes, electrode substrates, separators, etc.; the middle and the middle are positive and negative materials, electrolytes, The electrode substrate and the separator are assembled into a battery core for manufacturing and packaging; downstream is an application field.

According to the data, lithium-ion batteries were born in the 1970s and gradually developed into green and environmentally friendly positive/negative materials. In the 1990s, with Sony's first commercial lithium-ion battery and electronic products, the demand for high-power, high-energy-density batteries continued to increase, and lithium-ion batteries gradually became mainstream products.

The White Paper on the Development of Lithium-Ion Battery Industry (2019) prepared by China Electronic Information Industry Development Research Institute shows that China is the world's largest producer and the most important application market in the global lithium-ion battery industry. constantly improving. At the same time, benefiting from the continued rapid growth of new energy vehicles, the scale of China's lithium-ion battery industry has grown steadily in recent years. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the cumulative output of lithium-ion batteries in China reached 13.99 billion in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 25.9%; the industry scale reached 172.7 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 9%.

According to the statistical analysis of China Chemical and Physical Power Industry Association, in 2018, China's lithium-ion battery operating revenue reached 172.7 billion yuan, an increase of 8.7%. The output of lithium-ion batteries increased from 100.9 billion watt-hours to 124.2 billion watt-hours, an increase of 23.1% year-on-year.

It is understood that from the application field, lithium-ion batteries are mainly divided into three categories: consumer, power and energy storage. According to the white paper, starting from 2015, with the rapid growth of power lithium-ion battery production, China's lithium-ion battery industry structure has undergone significant changes, and a dominant market structure for consumer lithium-ion batteries has been broken. In 2018, the shipment of power-type lithium-ion batteries increased to 63.7%, mainly used in new energy vehicles, electric bicycles, power tools and other markets; consumer lithium-ion battery shipments fell to 31.8%, mainly because Worldwide and domestic shipments of smartphones, notebooks, and mobile power supplies decreased; while the storage of energy-storing lithium-ion batteries increased to 4.5%, showing a trend of one step at a time.

Liu Yanlong said that at present, the power lithium-ion battery has become the industry's largest growth engine, and the energy storage type lithium-ion battery has great potential and is still in the stage of exploring the profit model.

Industry reshuffle in progress

In recent years, China's power lithium-ion batteries have developed rapidly, which is mainly due to the strong support of national policies for the new energy automobile industry. Driven by the national energy conservation and environmental protection policy, the sales of new energy vehicles are increasing year by year. Lithium-ion batteries are the mainstay of new energy vehicles, and the market demand is naturally “high.”

However, the days of lithium-ion battery industry chain companies in the first half of this year are a bit difficult. With the subsidy of new energy vehicles subsided, the cost pressure has become more concentrated in the middle of the battery, the battery price has been declining, so that the low-end products continue to clear, the industry landscape tends to be centralized, and the market competition is more intense.

The white paper shows that in 2018, due to the inability to timely subsidize new energy vehicles, the continuous decline in the price of power-type lithium-ion battery products, and the tightening of capital market financing, many companies in China's lithium-ion battery industry are experiencing cash flow shortages and performance gambling. The phenomenon of failure, capital chain breakage and even bankruptcy collapsed, and the industry shuffled.

According to incomplete statistics, in 2018, China's lithium-ion battery industry chain suspended, withdrew, closed down and other non-performing enterprises more than 60. Liu Yanlong said that industry reshuffle is difficult to avoid, and the concentration of the industry will be further enhanced this year.

According to data from the China Chemical and Physical Power Industry Association, the installed capacity of the top 20 companies in China last year accounted for 91.8%; the top five companies accounted for 73.6% of the installed capacity; the former two companies accounted for 61.3%. In the first five months of this year, the installed capacity of the top 20 enterprises has reached 96.5%; the proportion of installed capacity of the top five enterprises has also soared to 80%; the proportion of the first two companies is also as high as 70%.

The association said that this year, companies are facing multiple pressures such as a sharp decline in subsidies, an increase in energy density and the lower limit of the end of life, and a tight capital chain. The market has entered a period of rapid reshuffle, and second and third-tier echelon companies are facing greater financial pressure. The company has abandoned the new energy vehicle-powered lithium battery business and turned to small power markets such as power tools and electric bicycles.

The association believes that the next three to four years will be the most difficult period for upstream and downstream enterprises in the power lithium battery industry chain. Especially in terms of cost reduction, upstream and downstream enterprises will face unprecedented challenges, only with strong technical accumulation and sufficient Vendors with financial support, strong product cost-performance advantages and rapid response to the market will be able to take the lead in the fierce market competition in the future.