Operating income at the Tianqi Lithium Corporation grew 42.96% in the third quarter of this year to 3.96 billion yuan, driven by a shortage of lithium in the production of new energy cars, the 21st Century Business Herald reported.

Net profit increased 26.17%, to 1.52 billion yuan, when compared to last year’s figures, while net profit attributable to shareholders of the parent company grew 106.57% to 1.004 billion yuan, according to an official report.

Data released by the Automobile Association showed that from January to September 2017, production and sales of new energy vehicles reached 424,000 and 398,000, respectively, with a year-on-year increase of 40.40% and 37.72%.

Demand for new energy vehicles has increased the price of lithium since the second half of this year, the report said.

“Tianqi will accelerate the pace of capacity expansion for lithium, and continue to meet the raw material demands of global mainstream lithium battery manufacturers,” the report said.

The company has also officially launched a project that aims to boost output to 24,000 tons of battery-level lithium hydroxide within a year.

The current production capacity is around 12,000 tons per year, according to an insider.