The South Korean EV battery manufacturers will invest heavily in R&D and expansion of manufacturing capacity this decade. Their combined investment by 2030 is expected to reach 40.6 trillion won ($35 billion) according to media reports.

That falls almost entirely on the three players: LG Chem's LG Energy Solution, SK Innovation and Samsung SDI.

They expanded manufacturing capacity from a total of 59 GWh annually in 2016 to 217 GWh in 2020 and are accelerating to even higher levels. According to Bloomberg, South Korean manufacturers hold a third of the EV battery market so far this year (actually in the first five months).

That's a really strong position on one hand, but China and Japan also have strong contenders. Chinese CATL alone holds a 31% share in the EV market.

LG Energy Solution announced 15.1 trillion won ($13.1 billion) investment by 2030, including 9.7 trillion won in R&D. Backlog of orders is currently worth more than 180 trillion won ($157 billion).

SK Innovation announced recently that by 2030 it would like to expand its manufacturing capacity to over 500 GWh annually.

In the case of Samsung SDI, plans are probably not as big, but it will also gradually expand its position.

The overall EV battery market is expected to increase more than 7-fold, from $46 billion in 2020 to $352 billion in 2030 according to SNE Research. That's a big opportunity for growth, but it requires high capital investments.

The manufacturers that today have a high market share basically have to invest further, because remaining passive would result in marginalization. The battery market requires increasing volume as much as possible, which allows battery makers to cover huge R&D expenses on new technologies.

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