* Regulator approves around 300 more models for subsidies
* Q2 approvals quadruple from previous quarter
* But gradual drop in subsidies is pressuring automaker
BEIJING, June 2 China on Friday approved around
300 more green energy vehicle models to receive subsidies as
part of a scheme that has rapidly boosted sales in the sector,
with the pace of approvals accelerating from earlier in the
China is the world's largest market for green energy
vehicles, with the government aggressively promoting the
segment, including spending billions in subsidies, in a bid to
fight intense urban air pollution.
Regulators had put the brakes on subsidies for new energy
vehicles - defined as battery electric and plug-in hybrids -
after discovering widespread cheating of the subsidy scheme last
year, instituting stricter rules for qualifying and slowing
approvals at the start of 2017.
That pace has since quickened with the latest 300 or so
bringing total approvals for the second quarter to 1,396 models,
compared to 386 receiving the green light in the first quarter,
according to statements on the Ministry of Industry and
Information Technology website.
But profits for new energy vehicle makers remain under
pressure as the amount of subsidies each car is eligible to
receive has decreased from last year, as the government seeks to
gradually wean the industry off state support. It has also
capped local subsidies that seek to match the national scheme.
An executive at Chinese automaker BYD Co Ltd
predicted the company's first-half profits would fall because of
the decline in subsidies, despite the company's sales volume for
new energy vehicles improving as the year progresses, the
state-owned Securities Times reported on Friday.
(Reporting by Jake Spring; Editing by Joseph Radford)