|Former EcoPro Chairman Lee Dong-chae, fourth from left, poses with company executives and officials from Sony during a long-term agreement ceremony at EcoPro's headquarters in Ochang, North Chungcheong Province, March 9, 2015. Courtesy of EcoPro|
By Kim Jae-heun
EcoPro celebrated the 10th anniversary of its partnership with Japanese battery cell companies Sony and Murata Manufacturing, the company said Wednesday.
It first supplied high-nickel cathode materials to Sony in August 2013 and has maintained the supply deal even after Murata Manufacturing acquired Sony's battery cell business in 2017.
"Murata has strong confidence in EcoPro battery anode materials and guarantees their quality. We will continue our relationship with Murata, a 10-year friendship, through the supply of high-quality cathode materials," an EcoPro official said.
EcoPro and Sony's cooperation started in 2012. The Japanese firm formed a task force, led by quality control personnel, and sent them to EcoPro's Ochang plant in North Chungcheong Province. The task force team stayed there for a month checking the product quality.
Since then, Sony has requested EcoPro to send their product's prototype to Japanese cell lines. In August 2013 the Korean firm supplied 6 tons of battery anode materials to Sony for testing.
In 2015 the two companies signed a long-term supply contract.
"It was an unconventional decision at the time that Sony opened itself to a Korean company, not a domestic one. It was a decision made after seeing that there was no quality problem (with our product) during their test process," an EcoPro official said.
In 2017, Sony sold its battery division to Murata Manufacturing. Despite Sony's sell-off, EcoPro continues to supply cathode materials for batteries to Murata Manufacturing. The company is steadily increasing its trading volume by supplying a thousand tons of its product to the Japanese firm, annually.