China's Shenzhen Center Power Tech to relocate battery operations

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Shenzhen Center Power Tech Co Ltd, a Chinese lead-acid battery maker, will shift its production facility to Vietnam and the inland province of Hubei, the latest in a string of companies to look beyond China amid tighter regulations. Shenzhen Center Power Tech announced the decision late Sunday in a filing with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, citing "environmental requirements" of the district in which the company is located across the border from Hong Kong. The company said the move would help reduce labor costs. Tianneng Group, another Chinese battery producer, said in March it was considering setting up a factory in South or Southeast Asia, and said many small- and middle-sized Chinese battery firms had already relocated because of the 4 percent consumption tax on lead-acid batteries in China. The relocation of battery manufacturers is similar to China's scrap copper sector, where new restrictions on imports of solid waste and a need for importers to prove they are end-users of the material, prompted scrap companies to set base in South or Southeast Asia. (Reporting by John Ruwitch, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)