Chinese battery equipment maker Zhejiang Hangke will be forming a joint venture in South Korea, TheElec has learned.
The company will form HK Power with a local company. Hangke will spend US$30 million in the venture.
The move is likely to supply more equipment to main customer SK On. Hangke recently won a deal from BlueOval SK, the battery joint venture between SK On and Ford, to supply equipment that will be used in factories in the US.
The deal is worth around US$146 million and Hangke for the past year already supplied SK On with 326 billion won worth of kits.
Hangke also supplies its equipment to other Korean battery makers Samsung SDI and LG Energy Solution.
HK Power is expected to manufacture formation equipment for SK On.
The venture is likely being formed to avoid any possible restrictions from entering the US market.
Ultium Cells, the joint venture between LG Energy Solution and General Motors, has also mostly avoided using Chinese vendors for equipment in their factories.
Meanwhile, Chinese equipment maker Lead Intelligence also has an office in South Korea.
Other equipment makers are expected to make similar moves to win Korean battery makers as customers due to intensifying competition in China.