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Electric cars sit connected to a charging station operated by Tellus Power Inc. at an underground parking garage in Beijing. By the end of 2015, China had 49,000 public charging points. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)
Electric cars sit connected to a charging station operated by Tellus Power Inc. at an underground parking garage in Beijing. By the end of 2015, China had 49,000 public charging points. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Electric cars drive China’s superpower zeal Add to ...

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In a quiet showroom on the outskirts of Beijing, buyers peruse the batteries Liandong Tianyi Tech has on offer. Power units of all different sizes store backup electricity for computer servers and cellphone towers, efficient and invisible.

Chairman Yan Zidian doesn’t expect it to stay that way for long. He is driving his company out of the server farm and onto the streets. By next year, he expects to begin selling an electric car, placing his small company, little known outside the backup power industry, into a race that has drawn hundreds of other competitors in China. They see a generational opportunity to become leaders in the automotive industry of the future.

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