Sunwoda Electronic, a China-based lithium-ion battery manufacturing company, has announced plans to invest $1.7bn (12.15bn yuan) to open a new power battery factory for electric vehicles in the city of Nyiregyhaza in eastern Hungary. The new plant, which will be Sunwoda’s first in eastern Europe, is expected to open by the end of 2025.

Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said when announcing the Sunwoda project: “This is the largest investment announced [in Hungary] this year. This is the third investment this year that represents a value of more than €1bn [$1.1bn] and it will enable us to fulfil the promise not only to exceed last year’s record-high investments but also to double them.”

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Nyiregyhaza is the seventh-largest city in Hungary, with a population of about 115,000, and it is located less than 50km from Debrecen, which itself announced a major foreign investment project in July, when China’s Ningbo Zhenyu Technology committed to spending $65.9m on a factory to produce precision parts used in electric car batteries.

Hungary has risen to become a global automotive hub for foreign direct investment in recent years, in spite of concerns in some circles about the authoritarianism displayed by the country’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán. Earlier in July, Huayou Cobalt, also of China, announced a $1.4bn lithium battery plant investment in the country, demonstrating just how strong a reputation the country has for automotive investment. Hungary has also had a strong record of attracting German carmakers, drawn by the country’s abundant talent, cheap labour and plentiful clusters.

Sunwoda was founded in 1997 and is based in Shenzhen. It has several operations throughout China, and is present in numerous countries including India, Israel, Japan, South Korea, the US and Vietnam.