Wang Chuanfu, chairman and president of BYD Auto, at the the Auto Shanghai 2019 show in Shanghai.
Ng Han Guan—AP

BYD is the world’s most important automaker that most Americans have never heard of. The Shenzhen-­based firm may shun the U.S. market for political reasons, but it accounts for 39% of electric or hybrid cars sold in China—the world’s largest auto market—and is present in 53 countries and regions around the globe. The $100 billion firm—whose initials stand for “Build Your Dreams”—aims to become the world’s top EV maker by selling 3.7 million cars in 2023, compared with a projected 2 million for Tesla. Backed by Warren Buffett, and led by founder and CEO Wang Chuanfu, it’s a vital driver of the green-energy revolution as the leading clean-car brand in markets as diverse as Brazil, Colombia, Israel, and ­Thailand.

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