Feature: From tabletop display to spotlight, Chinese clean energy companies reshape CES 2024 behind scenes

(Xinhua) 13:21, January 12, 2024

LAS VEGAS, the United States, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Zhong Xiaojun, general manager of a Chinese clean-energy company, remembered his CES (Consumer Electronics Show) debut a decade ago: a humble table shared with another company, stacked high with products.

Today, his Guangzhou-based company, Allpowers, has a nicely designed booth at the 2024 CES in Las Vegas which is being held from Jan. 9 to 12, with three categories of products on display -- foldable solar panels, portable power station and home energy storage system.

Just like the expansion of the booth, the company, specialized in solar products and batteries, has achieved rapid growth in recent years.

Allpowers reflects a trend for the biggest show in the consumer electronics industry. While AI (Artificial Intelligence) might be the dominant theme across the exhibition centers this year, it's the new energy companies that will power all of those tech dreams.

And in this field, ranging from EV (electric vehicles) to better batteries and Photovoltaic cells, China is a strong competitor and continue growing up by innovations.

"Currently, we have 60 overseas warehouses and three offices in the United States," said Zhong. "We are now recruiting salespeople for the U.S. offices to meet the needs of our customers."

Their portable power stations are particularly popular in the U.S. market because they can be used for camping and in emergency situations. It is a cost-effective alternative to diesel generators. The foldable solar panel is also lightweight, weighing only 60 percent of similar products, according to Zhong.

By 2019, Allpowers had become so confident in its technology and products that it stopped accepting manufacturing orders from overseas companies and focused on building its own brand.

"Now, foreign companies that want to work with us must buy our products," said Zhong proudly.

According to Liu Chun, vice president of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME), among the top 10 installed power batteries in the world, six are Chinese companies, contributing 60 percent of the share.

"China's advantage in the field of lithium batteries lies not only in raw materials. In high-tech fields such as lithium battery cathode materials, companies have also made breakthroughs. The cathode materials of ternary lithium batteries account for more than 60 percent of the world's share," she said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua Tuesday.

Smartek Electric, a Chinese electric bicycle manufacturer based in Suzhou, brought to CES two new e-bikes designed and manufactured in China. The e-bikes have been gaining traction since they were introduced in the U.S. market in July last year.

Priced between 2,000 and 3,000 U.S. dollars each, these bikes offer compelling value compared to their U.S. counterparts, which are sold at 4,000 to 5,000 dollars, according to Du Yongjie, general manager of Smartek.

"Based on the feedback from our dealers, we expect to sell 15,000 units for these two models this year," said Du, adding that 2,000 units are on their way to the United States.

It's the second time for Du to participate in CES. Last time in 2019, there were only four or five clean energy companies in his exhibition hall. This time, he found more than 10 exhibitors, most from China.

Liu from CCCME disclosed that in the first 11 months of 2023, the demand for Chinese electric passenger vehicles and lithium batteries drove the total export volume of electromechanical products by 1.67 percent, with the increased export volume reaching 31.1 billion dollars.

"We know that in the first half of 2023, China surpassed Japan and became the world's largest automobile exporter. Among them, new energy vehicles play a leading role," she said.

Liu noted that China's new energy vehicles covered several key directions, including not only the selection of plug-in hybrid technology routes, but also smart cockpits, autonomous driving, energy replenishment technology and others, and even cost control.

NaaS Technology, a Chinese EV charging service provider, is making its CES debut with a diverse range of AC, DC, and ultra-fast chargers.

Zhai Yubo, general manager of sustainable development at NaaS, believed their expertise in digital technology and services can help improve the efficiency and convenience of charging infrastructure in the United States.

Now the company is seeking partnerships in the United States to leverage their expertise in data analysis and efficient charging solutions.

"I think our biggest advantage as a platform is that we can analyze market demand when we have more and more data," said Zhai. "The reason is that as the number of EVs increases, the demand for charging stations also increases. Therefore, I think other countries can learn from China's practice and experience."

The fast expansion of the clean energy sector is a result of rising market opportunities, China's complete industrial chain and supply chain, and favorable policies, said industry analysts.

As global awareness of environmental protection and the importance of sustainable development continues to grow, the new energy industry has gradually become a global hot spot.

The success stories of the three companies mirror a shift at the world's largest tech show: China's clean-tech companies are no longer imitators, but innovators, reshaping what CES looks like.

"At CES, we really see that everyone is paying attention to China's clean energy practice and experience. We are confident that our experience has great value for the global EV market," said Zhai.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


Related Stories