Chinese automaker BYD has launched its first electric vehicle plant in Rayong, Thailand, marking a significant expansion into Southeast Asia, as well as a strategic push into the U.S. and European markets.

The inauguration of the new facility coincided with the European Union's initiation of increased tariffs on Chinese-made EVs, reflecting concerns about the impact of subsidized, lower-priced imports on domestic markets.

Similarly, the U.S. is escalating tariffs on Chinese EV imports from 25% to 100%, despite currently importing very few Chinese cars.

The Biden administration shares the European Commission's concerns about subsidies undermining local manufacturers and leading to job losses.

Constructed in just 16 months, the Rayong plant boasts an annual production capacity of 150,000 vehicles. It produces various BYD models, along with batteries and transmissions.

The opening event featured the ceremonial handover of the 8 millionth vehicle produced by BYD, a Dolphin compact hatchback, to a Thai royal family-supported charitable foundation.