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Chinese Automakers Dominate Southeast Asia’s Growing Electric Vehicle Market

Southeast Asia is witnessing a rapid surge in electric vehicle (EV) sales, with Chinese manufacturers like BYD and Vietnam’s VinFast leading the charge and challenging the dominance of Japanese and Korean firms in the internal combustion engine (ICE) car market, according to Counterpoint Research.

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In the first quarter of this year, EV sales in the region more than doubled compared to the previous year, while sales of ICE cars declined by 7%. Chinese OEMs, notably BYD, accounted for over 70% of EV sales in Southeast Asia during this period, continuing to dominate the market.

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“Japanese and Korean automakers, who traditionally dominate conventional vehicle sales, are slower in adopting EVs, allowing Chinese OEMs to step in and fill the gap,” remarked Abhik Mukherjee, an analyst at Counterpoint.

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Thailand, a key manufacturing hub in the region, led the EV sales growth with a 44% increase year-on-year, bolstered by investments exceeding $1.44 billion from Chinese automakers to establish new EV production facilities.

“Vietnam also showed impressive growth, with battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales skyrocketing by over 400%, contributing significantly to regional sales,” added Mukherjee.

BYD maintained its leadership in Southeast Asia’s EV market, commanding 47% market share, closely followed by Vietnam’s VinFast.

Despite growing sales, U.S. electric carmaker Tesla saw a slight decline in market share to 4% in the first quarter, reflecting competitive dynamics in the region.

Several Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand and Indonesia, have implemented incentives to stimulate EV demand and attract investments, prompting Chinese automakers to intensify their presence in the region.

“Southeast Asia is increasingly becoming a key expansion region for Chinese OEMs,” Mukherjee concluded, underscoring the region’s growing importance in the global EV landscape.

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