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BYD Co.’s profit more than quintupled last year after the Chinese automaker sold a record number of electric vehicles and intensified its battle with Tesla Inc. for market share. 

Net income soared 446% to 16.6 billion yuan ($2.4 billion), the company said Tuesday, in line with the 16 billion to 17 billion yuan preliminary profit it reported on Jan. 30. Analysts expected 15.98 billion yuan, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. 

BYD sold 1.86 million electric and plug-in hybrids in 2022, more than the previous four years combined and accounting for about 30% of all new-energy vehicle sales in China. Half of them were battery-only EVs. In comparison, Tesla delivered 1.31 million EVs. BYD stopped producing cars powered entirely by fossil fuels last year.

New luxury EV launches will help BYD broaden its offerings this year and should help fuel further earnings growth. But margins are likely to be squeezed by an ongoing price war in China that was sparked by Tesla with cuts on its locally-made models.

Warren Buffett-backed BYD is stepping up its push overseas, including into Norway, Denmark, the UK, Thailand and Australia.

BYD shares rose 1.5% in Hong Kong trading before the results Tuesday. They are down almost 20% since the start of February, when the price war intensified and data showed Chinese car sales plunged in January as purchases slowed during the Lunar New Year holiday. 

Company founder Wang Chuanfu will host an post-earnings event with analysts and media in Hong Kong on Wednesday morning.

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