's move is expected to give it easier access to top talent and closer proximity to two key customers, and .

(Image credit: CATL)

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL), China's largest power battery maker, has opened a new research center in Shanghai that promises to make it easier to work with two of its most important current customers, Tesla and Nio.

CATL (SHE: 300750), based in Ningde, Fujian province in southeast China, announced on January 8 that it opened its Future Energy Research Institute in Shanghai's Minhang district. A ceremony was attended by people including officials from the district as well as CATL executives.

The institute will focus on forward-looking technologies in the new energy sector in partnership with Shanghai Jiaotong University, with the goal of becoming a global center for future energy innovation, the company said.

The move is an execution of a plan CATL announced last August. The company did not release any more information in its latest announcement.

On August 18, CATL said it signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement with the Shanghai government to build a manufacturing base as well as a research center in the city.

CATL will build projects in Shanghai including a global innovation center, an international functional headquarters, a future energy research institute and a high-end manufacturing base, according to the company's announcement at the time.

The two sides will deepen cooperation in areas such as cutting-edge new energy technology research and innovative applications, the transformation of urban transportation electrification, and the cultivation of high-end new energy talents, the announcement said.

CATL established the Future Energy Research Institute Inc in Shanghai on August 18 last year with a registered capital of 200 million yuan, according to data provider Qichacha.

On January 7, local media outlet Shanghai Observer reported that CATL's plant in Shanghai Lingang had begun supplying products to a Tesla factory a few blocks away in November 2021.

With the establishment of the latest research institute, CATL has largely implemented all of the elements of last year's agreement.

Local media reports said that CATL has set up its major project in Shanghai because it has a large number of universities and top talent, making it easier to recruit the necessary talent.

With Tesla's factory in China located in Shanghai and Nio's global headquarters here, CATL's move puts it closer to its customers and makes it easier for them to communicate.

Notably, on August 19 last year, the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Institute of Future Technologies was officially inaugurated with CATL's Chief Manufacturing Officer Ni Jun as Dean.

Ni Jun is currently a Special Advisor to the President of Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Dean Emeritus of the University's Michigan College. He was hired in 2020 as CATL's Chief Manufacturing Officer and Co-President of Engineering Manufacturing and R&D Systems.