Standing for ‘Build Your Dreams’, BYD was founded in 1995 by entrepreneur Wang Chuanfu in Shenzhen, a Chinese city near Hong Kong. BYD notably counts American billionaire Warren Buffett as one of its investors, and has recently unveiled plans to begin selling models in Australia through a distributor partner.
BYD was founded as a maker of rechargeable batteries, and grew rapidly by becoming a major supplier of batteries to various mobile phone manufacturers. Chuanfu wished to enter into a new market for his batteries, and sensing the possibility of vehicles eventually being powered with electricity, decided to make a risky decision to buy struggling Chinese carmaker Qinchuan Auto (renamed to BYD Automobile) as a way to enter the automotive industry and learn how to scale up the mass production of cars. BYD pivoted to EVs with the launch of the BYD E6 electric people-mover in 2010.
Today, BYD has a market capitalisation of US$103.58 billion, making it more valuable than established brands including Mercedes-Benz, Ford, General Motors and BMW. In addition to cars, the company also produces a range of commercial vehicles, such as EV buses, forklifts and trucks.
BYD has recently revealed plans to sell the Atto 3 SUV in Australia.