Easpring (Beijing Easpring Technology Material Co. Ltd.) is the first Chinese supplier for battery cathode materials to be listed in China’s stock market. Since 2021, the company has been proactively increasing the number of partners across the supply chain and rapidly securing resources in the upstream. It has successively entered into strategic cooperation agreements with many other suppliers and technology developers including SK Innovation, Finnish Minerals Group, Huayou Cobalt, CNGR, and Welion.
On April 24, Easpring added Lishen (Tianjin Lishen Battery Joint Stock Co. Ltd.) to its list of partners. The scope of the strategic cooperation agreement that was signed by both parties on that day encompasses the followings: (1) provisioning of cathode materials used in lithium batteries, (2) development of new products, (3) technological cooperation, (3) battery recycling, (4) development of upstream resources, and (5) worldwide deployment of production capacity.
Based on publicly available information, Lishen was established in 1997 as one of the first Chinese companies involved in the R&D and manufacturing of Li-ion batteries. Lishen has a comprehensive product portfolio that includes cylindrical, prismatic, and pouch cells. Furthermore, it has set up numerous EV battery production sites across China (e.g., Qingdao, Suzhou, and Wuhan).
Regarding the provisioning of cathode materials, Lishen has now become one of Easpring’s top priority customers. Under the agreement, Lishen will procure no less than 100,000 metric tons of cathode materials from Easpring over a period of seven years (2022-2028).
Turning to cooperation in technology and product development, both parties will collaborate closely in the provisioning of solutions that support battery systems equipped in EV models around the world. Lishen will prioritize Easpring’s offerings when selecting materials used in the R&D of its new batteries for EVs and other applications.
Both parties have also agreed to strengthen cooperation in fields related to leading-edge cathode materials and battery technologies. Examples include cathode materials featuring high nickel content, LFMP cathode materials, manganese-based cathode materials that are also “lithium-rich”, Na-ion batteries, and solid-state batteries.
As for the recovery of valuable metals from used Li-ion batteries, both parties will explore opportunities to jointly establish a mechanism for battery recycling. From battery recycling, they will build out a circular or closed-loop system for the utilization of the lithium resource.
In terms of cooperation in securing upstream resources, both parties have agreed to share their intelligence on the global market for battery metals and minerals (e.g., nickel, lithium, cobalt, and phosphorous). The scope of cooperation in this particular area includes but is not limited to joint procurement of raw materials used in battery cathodes.
Lastly, with regard to global capacity expansion, Easpring and Lishen together will be exploring investment and acquisition opportunities. In accordance to their development needs, both parties will jointly undertake capacity expansion projects for cathode materials (including but not limited to ternary cathode materials and LFP cathode materials).
Easpring said that the strategic partnership with Lishen will have positive effects on its efforts to reinforce its existing advantages in overseas markets. Moreover, the partnership will help Easpring to further increase its domestic sales and thereby expand its domestic market share. This, in turn, will also allow the full utilization of the additional production capacity that the company is going to deploy in the near future.
It is worth point out that Easpring has been firmly carrying out an oversea expansion strategy. The company has successfully inserted itself into the supply chains of top-tier foreign customers that now account for 70% of its client base. Easpring is also one of the few Chinese companies that are able to sell cathode materials to Japan, South Korea, Europe, and the US at the same time. The major international battery manufacturers that are Easpring’s notable clients include Samsung SDI, LG Chem, SKI, BYD, Farasis Energy, CNAT, and SVOLT.
(This article is a translation of a Chinese article written by Wendy at TrendForce. It contains information that is either sourced from other news outlets or accessible in the public domain.)