's 1,557 EV patent applications in China are twice as many as Geely's 870 applications.

As the largest new energy vehicle (NEV) maker in China, BYD has an overwhelming advantage in EV patent applications.

Among the four Chinese automakers with the highest sales of pure electric vehicles, BYD ranks first with 1,557 patent applications, according to an analysis by Nikkei and Tokyo-based Intellectual Property Landscape.

The number of BYD's EV patent applications is almost double that of second-ranked rival Geely's 870 applications.

Chery and SAIC ranked third and fourth, with 640 and 448 patent applications respectively.

In overseas patent applications, BYD is also far ahead of the other three competitors, indicating its ambition for global expansion, according to a Nikkei report today.

BYD filed 171 applications in Europe, accounting for 11 percent of all the company's EV patent applications. It filed 139 applications in the US and 49 in Japan, accounting for 8.9 percent and 3.1 percent of all applications, respectively.

Geely filed 58 applications in Europe, accounting for 6.7 percent of its total. The company filed 33 applications in the US and only 8 in Japan.

Chery has filed only a few times overseas, while SAIC has filed almost zero overseas applications.

Founded in 1995, BYD entered the automotive business in 2003 and stopped producing and selling cars powered entirely by internal combustion engines in March of this year to focus on electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

BYD's patent filings began to grow sharply in 2016, when it filed 203 applications, 3.5 times more than the previous year.

The other three companies are at least a few years behind BYD's patent applications.

Geely's patent filings didn't start soaring until it filed 98 applications in 2018, 3.8 times more than the year before.

BYD released data earlier this month showing it sold 217,816 NEVs globally in October, including 217,518 passenger cars as well as 298 commercial vehicles.

Of those passenger cars, 103,157 pure electric vehicles were sold, the first time they exceeded 100,000 units, up 150.19 percent from 41,232 units a year earlier. The number of plug-in hybrid vehicles was 114,361, up 194.97 percent from 38,771 units in the same period last year.

BYD is actively entering overseas markets, announcing its official entry into the Japanese passenger car market on July 21 with the unveiling of BYD Seal, Dolphin and Atto 3, three pure electric vehicles.

The Atto 3 is expected to launch in Japan in January 2023, the Dolphin in mid-2023 and the Seal in the second half of 2023, BYD said at the time.