That billionaire? Warren Buffet.
Tesla is not the only all-electric automaker currently experiencing major growth and value. China's BYD, backed by American billionaire Warren Buffett, reported earlier this week a very impressive 162 percent net profit growth in 2020 despite the turmoil caused by the pandemic. That net profit totaled $643.75 million, or 4.23 billion yuan. That's an increase from 1.61 billion yuan from 2019. Like many other major global automakers, BYD began manufacturing face masks not long after the outbreak began.
Last May, it claimed to be making 50 million masks daily. BYD, which has partnerships with Toyota and Daimler, sold a total of 426,972 vehicles in 2020, which was actually a 7.5 percent drop from the year prior.
The entire domestic Chinese auto industry experienced a drop in new vehicle sales last year, though it's clear BYD weathered the storm exceptionally well overall. BYD says net profit for the first three months of this year is expected to grow from 77.6 percent to 166.3 percent compared to the first quarter of last year. Sales of BYD's all-electric Han luxury sedan, sort of a Tesla Model S rival, have increased every month since last July and surpassed 10,000 units in November.
BYD does not currently sell its cars in the US but its shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Despite China's reputation for building copycats of several Western-designed vehicles, automakers like BYD are proving the country's auto powerhouse potential.
BYD, founded in 1995, remains one of China's best-positioned automakers to take on established rivals, such as GM and Ford. Efforts have been made in the past to sell BYD's lineup in the US but so far to no avail, despite Buffet's backing. It first attempted to enter the US market in 2010 and did so again four years later. It might make another attempt but domestic growth appears to be its main focus right now.