South Korean battery material producer W-Scope is investing 290 billion forints (EUR 728.1m) to build its first European battery separator film plant in Nyíregyháza, in north-eastern Hungary, the minister of foreign affairs and trade said on Friday. The investment will create 1,200 jobs, with the new plant set to produce 1.2 billion square metres of battery separator film for electric vehicles a year, Péter Szijjártó said, according to a foreign ministry statement. Szijjártó said it was beyond doubt that the automotive industry had by now become the backbone of the Hungarian economy. The value of the sector’s output came to 9,400 billion forints last year compared with 3,600 billion in 2010, he said. The auto industry output reached a record 3,500 billion forints over the first four months of 2022, the minister added. “And those who attract electric vehicle investments win the future and can lay the foundations of future economic growth,” Szijjártó said. He said Hungary was a popular investment destination among the world’s leading auto industry companies. Hungary has become a “flagship” of the European automotive sector’s transition to electric vehicles and a major player in the manufacture and export of electric vehicle batteries. Hungary has the world’s third largest EV battery production capacity after China and the United States, which will increase from the current annual 50 GWh to 150 GWh by 2025, Szijjártó said. Hungary currently ranks fifth in the export of EV batteries, he added.
Szijjártó said the greatest achievement of the Hungarian government’s policy of opening up to the East was that Hungary had become a popular investment destination in Europe among Eastern companies. He added that after 2019 and 2021, it was possible that South Korea will top the list of foreign investors in Hungary again this year. South Korean companies are now the fourth biggest group of investors in Hungary, which demonstrates that individual investments help attract further ones, the minister said. Bilateral trade turnover between Hungary and South Korea reached a new record last year at close to 5 billion dollars, Szijjártó said, adding that it was clear that Hungary benefitted a lot from its relations with the Far Eastern country.