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Songjiang battery project, Shanghai, China


As a subsidiary of Hefei Guoxuan High-tech Power Energy Co. Ltd., Shanghai Guoxuan New Energy Co., Ltd was established on 8 December, 2011. On 17 May, 2012, it successfully secured the No. v-40 bid for 140 mu (about 9.33 ha) land in Songjiang district at 71 million yuan. [1] A lithium ion battery factory was planned to be built on this plot in the Songjiang Industrial Park in Xiaokunshan town, according to a press release the industrial park issued in August 2012. [2]

The total investment size for the battery plant was about 1 billion yuan with an annual output of 200 million ampere-hours of battery cells and an annual output of 500 million ampere-hours of battery packs, which would have turn it into the largest battery producer in East China after its completion. [3] This project was in line with the industrial development orientation of Shanghai and Songjiang District. After the completion of the project, it would have played an important role in promoting the formation of a new energy vehicle production chain in Songjiang. In the three key components for the EIC (Electrical Impedance Characteristics) system - battery, motor and electric control system products, battery production is mostly needed in Shanghai, which explains why the project was strongly supported by the government. [1]

Different from the local government's concern about the structure of the industry, local residents in Songjiang were more concerned about whether the new energy driven automobile industry would leave them clean water and air. Some citizens questioned that the plant was next to the riverside, which would risk the water quality of the Songjiang district as well of Shanghai.[4] In September and November 2012, the brief Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the project by the Shanghai Research Institute of Chemical Industry (SRICI) was publicized for 10 days respectively, after which, a public opinion survey was conducted by the SRICI with 150 questionnaires. There were 34 residential communities, a kindergarten and three rivers within three kilometers of the foreseen factory site, according to a statement issued in November on Shanghai Environment Online, a website run by the State Environmental Protection Administration and the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau. [2] The evaluation found the project would cause very little pollution to the air and water. The final EIA report was submitted to the Environmental Protection Bureau of Songjiang District on 28 December 2012 and was approved on 14 January 2013.

Despite the official environmental evaluation that claimed the project would cause little air or water pollution, residents still were highly concerned about potential environmental and health impacts. Many residents participated in the Green Ribbon Action (绿丝带行动)[5], online activism already began to build at the beginning of April 2013, resulting in sporadic protests in the city. On 19 April 2013, a press conference was held by the Songjiang Government and Shanghai Guoxuan to communicate with the public and the media, saying that the factory would only produce lithium cells and conduct final assembly of the batteries, but would not be permitted to produce the anode and cathode parts. [6]On 21 April, 6 residents were invited to come to the Hefei headquarters and the factory of Guoxuan to conduct on-the-spot visits to understand the company's pollution treatment capabilities. At the same time, the company publicly promised that the construction and production process will consciously accept the supervision of the environmental protection department, the public and its entrusted third parties. If there would be any violation, the company would immediately and unconditionally suspend its operation. [7]

However, after several rounds of communication, it still failed to gain the trust of the residents. They believed that as long as Guoxuan built a factory in Songjiang, pollution would be inevitable.

On May 11, about 1,000 Shanghai people held a rally to protest against the project’s settling in Songjiang. Protesters gathered on Zhongshan Road, Songjiang District with banners stating, "I love Songjiang and oppose pollution." and "Resolutely oppose Guoxuan battery factory to be settled in Songjiang". Many people wore T-shirts against the construction of polluting factory patterns, and some wore masks. Large deployment of police dispersed people who gathered on the street. This was the third mass protest against the planned factory. [8] SinaWeibo was censoring searches for "Songjiang Battery Factory" during the protests. [9]

On 15 May 2013, Shanghai Guoxuan announced that the company decided to take back all the investment in the Songjiang project, while the land will be returned to the government and no compensation was demanded. [10]

The project has upset many and its cancellation gave people a sigh of relief, "Everybody is texting the news, and there are plans for a celebration," "We are delighted with the company's decision because we love Songjiang and we want a safe and clean environment." [2]

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Songjiang battery project, Shanghai, China
State or province:Shanghai
Location of conflict:Xiaokunshan Town, Songjiang District
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict: 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Chemical industries
Specific commodities:Battery cells and packs
Chemical products

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

Shanghai Guoxuan Co. Ltd. was established on December 8, 2011. On May 17, 2012, it successfully reserved 140 mu of land No. V-40. The transaction price was 71 million CNY, and the use was marked as battery manufacturing. In 2013, the project was approved for construction in Songjiang District. [1]

The total investment size of the project was 1 billion CNY. It was planned to build a lithium-ion battery production line with an annual output of 200 million ampere-hours and a lithium-ion battery pack line with an annual output of 500 million ampere-hours. [3]

According to the brief EIA report, the affected population would be around 100,000. [11]

Project area:9.33
Level of Investment:ca. 149,250,000
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:100,000
Start of the conflict:04/2013
End of the conflict:05/2013
Company names or state enterprises:Hefei GuoXuan High-Tech Power Energy Co. Ltd. (Gotion) from China - investor
Shanghai Guoxuan New Energy Co., Ltd (Shanghai Guoxuan) from China - owner
Relevant government actors:-Shanghai Research Institute of Chemical Industry (EIA Assessment)
-Environmental Protection Bureau of Songjiang District
-Songjiang District Government

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Neighbours/citizens/communities
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsPotential: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment


Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Withdrawal of company/investment
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The Shanghai Songjiang District Government announced on April 15, 2013 that all the planned Shanghai Guoxuan New Energy Battery Project will be cancelled and the land will be returned to the government.

Sources and Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict



Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[2] Global Times, 21 April 2013. Songjiang residents oppose battery factory. (accessed online 29.09.2018).

[9] Sina Weibo Censors Searches Related to Protests Against Shanghai Battery Factory. (accessed online 29.09.2018).

[5]起底合肥国轩:创始人是下海干部一直在努力IPO. (accessed online 29.09.2018).

[6] China Daily, 16 May 2013. Shanghai battery factory canceled over protest. (accessed online 29.09.2018).

[7]上海国轩新能源锂电池(松江)项目折戟. (accessed online 29.09.2018).

[8] Reuters, 11 May 2013. China battery plant protest gives voice to rising anger over pollution. (accessed online 29.09.2018).

[4]上海松江电池厂事件后续:公司撤出全部投资. (accessed online 29.09.2018).

[10]消息称上海松江电池厂项目投资收回 曾遭反对. (accessed online 29.09.2018).

[3] 国轩高科50亿电池项目上海夭折真相. (accessed online 29.09.2018).

[11] Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Brief. (accessed online 29.09.2018).

[1] 松江电池项目折戟背后:遭居民反对 担心污染难避. (accessed online 29.09.2018).

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Contributor:EnvJustice, ICTA-UAB/NWAFU master students
Last update20/02/2019









Love green Shanghai, no pollution!