Buffett owns more of Chinese electric car maker BYD than General Motors

Chinese battery and electric vehicle maker BYD shows off a model of its Han EV series at the 2020 Beijing auto show.

Evelyn Cheng | CNBC

BEIJING — Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate has a larger stake in Chinese electric automaker BYD than it does of General Motors, according to a letter to shareholders.

Berkshire Hathaway holds an 8.2% stake in Hong-Kong listed BYD and is the company’s eighth-largest holding by market value as of Dec. 31, according to the letter which was released on Saturday.

In contrast, the firm held 3.7% of General Motors, the 15th-largest holding.

Shares of BYD are up more than 300% over the last 12 months. Those of GM have climbed 65% during the same time period.

A Berkshire Hathaway unit first invested in battery and electric car company BYD in 2008.

The Shenzhen-based company has become a major automaker in the world’s largest car market, and sold more than 130,000 pure-electric passenger cars last year. That’s far more than start-up electric car rivals like Nio, which delivered just over 43,700 cars last year.

In January, GM became the latest traditional automaker to accelerate its push into electric vehicles by announcing a goal to end production of all diesel- and gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs by 2035.

That follows the American car maker’s announcement in November that it would increase spending by $7 billion on electric car development. The plan’s new total of $27 billion will go toward the scheduled release of 30 new electric vehicles worldwide.

— CNBC’s Michael Wayland contributed to this report.