Chinese Tesla challenger WM Motor completes $1.5 billion financing as it looks to tap growing electric car demand

24-Sep-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Chinese start-up WM Motor Technology Group said on Tuesday that it had completed a 10 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) round of fundraising, riding the wave of investor enthusiasm for electric vehicle makers.

The Series D round of financing was led by a Shanghai state-owned investor group, including SAIC Motor. Baidu and Susquehanna International Group added to their investments in WM Motor.

A recovery in China’s car market, the world’s biggest, from the damage of the coronavirus pandemic has fuelled an upsurge in the market capitalisations of Chinese electric vehicle makers such as NIO, Xpeng, and Li Auto.

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“The completion of the D round of financing reflects investor optimism about the prospects of the smart new energy vehicle industry, as well as their recognition of WM Motor’s long term development strategy, outstanding core team and industry-leading, cutting-edge technology,” said Freeman Shen, the founder and CEO of WM Motor.

Founded in 2015, WM Motor designs, manufactures and markets affordable battery electric vehicles under the Weltmeister brand. Headquartered in Shanghai, the company has a manufacturing facility in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, equipped with mass customisation capability and a capacity of 100,000 units per year. Another manufacturing facility is under construction in Huanggang, Hubei province.

State-owned investment institutions from Anhui, Jiangsu, Hubei and Hunan provinces as well as strategic investors including Yangtze River Industry Fund, State Development & Investment Corporation, Guangzhou Finance Holdings Group, Sino IC Leasing, Tsinghua Unigroup, Hongta Security, Agile, and Yingke Capital all took part in the round.

WM Motor has attracted capital from domestic and foreign investors, industrial investors, internet giants, national funds and venture capital funds.

The firm plans to use the proceeds from the fundraising to strengthen its investment in intelligent technology research and development, brand building, digital marketing and channel expansion.

A slew of Tesla challengers such as Xpeng, Li Auto and NIO have also looked to build up their cash hoards to expand their facilities and take on the Palo Alto, California-based carmaker Tesla for a slice of China’s market for new energy vehicles.

Earlier this month, China Evergrande said it is seeking to raise money from onshore stock investors to fund the group’s capital-hungry electric car venture. Hong Kong-listed unit China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group has proposed to sell yuan-denominated shares on the Star Market, the Nasdaq-style board of the Shanghai Stock Exchange, according to an exchange filing.


Category: China

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