Chinese electric vehicle (EV) leader BYD is making significant strides in the growing Southeast Asian EV market, largely thanks to its distribution partnerships with prominent local conglomerates. In recent years, BYD has formed alliances with key players in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia to expand its reach in the market and establish a strong presence in the region.
In Malaysia and Singapore, BYD vehicles are sold through Sime Darby Motors, the automotive division of Sime Darby, a major Malaysian trading and logistics conglomerate. The partnership between BYD and Sime Darby Motors began in 2019 with the distribution of BYD electric vehicles in Singapore. Since then, Sime Darby Motors has established a network of dealerships with seven branches in Singapore and has also taken over distribution in Malaysia. With nine dealerships currently operating in Malaysia and plans to open 12 more in the near future, Sime Darby Motors aims to further boost BYD’s presence in both countries.
In Thailand, BYD has partnered with Rever Automotive, a distribution and aftersales company. Thailand is BYD’s largest overseas market, and the Chinese manufacturer is investing around $500 million to establish a new production plant in the country. Rever Automotive, backed by influential Siam Motors Group, has played a vital role in expanding BYD’s market share in Thailand. Currently, Rever Automotive operates 62 sales outlets nationwide selling BYD vehicles.
In the Philippines, BYD has joined forces with AC Motors, a subsidiary of Filipino conglomerate Ayala Corp. AC Motors, which already sells Japanese and European car brands, plans to establish 12 BYD dealerships across the country in the next year. The partnership comes with tariff reductions to stimulate the growth of the electric vehicle market in the country.
In Indonesia, BYD has chosen Bakrie & Brothers, a prominent player in the manufacturing and infrastructure sector, as its distributor for electric buses. The partnership between BYD and VKTR, a unit of Bakrie & Brothers, began in 2018 and has so far delivered 52 electric buses to the local government in Jakarta. Bakrie & Brothers is in discussions with multiple Indonesian companies to secure commercial orders for BYD buses and has no immediate plans to enter the passenger car segment.
Overall, BYD’s alliances with these major conglomerates have allowed the Chinese EV manufacturer to gain an early advantage in the thriving Southeast Asian EV market. With a focus on expanding their dealership networks, investing in production facilities, and leveraging tariff reductions, BYD and its regional partners are well-positioned to shape the future of electric mobility in the region.