Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer Lixiang Automotive, formerly known as CHJ Automotive, announced a Series C round of funding on August 16, grabbing USD 530 million.
The deal was led by Wang Xing (王兴), founder and CEO of O2O lifestyle service platform Meituan-Dianping, who solely infused around USD 300 million in this round. Chinese internet unicorn ByteDance followed suit with USD 30 million cash injected into Lixiang Automotive. In the meantime, existing shareholders such as Matrix Partners China (经纬中国), Bluerun Ventures (蓝驰创投) and Future Capital (明势资本) increased their bets on the EV maker. Lixiang Automotive’s founder Li Xiang also poured USD 100 million into his company.
So far, Lixiang Automotive has raised more than USD 1.57 billion in total financings after the Series C round, boosting its valuation to USD 2.93 billion, which is close to the market capitalization of NIO, a New York Stock Exchange-listed Chinese EV manufacturer.
The biggest investor Wang Xing has demonstrated his interest in the mobility market for years. Early in 2017, Meituan launched ride-hailing services in Shanghai, Nanjing and some other cities in China. In April last year, Meituan bought Chinese bike-sharing firm Mobike and then pushed out a car-sharing platform. It also cooperates with Chinese EV maker Sitech to operate its car-sharing services in Guiyang in southwestern China.
Amid the deteriorating financing environment, market observers widely believe that Chinese Ev startups are unlikely to obtain large amounts of funding. The latest fundraising of Lixiang Automotive illustrates the market’s confidence in the future of the company, although it has not realized mass production yet
The EV maker unveiled its first electric sports utility vehicle model Li One in October last year, aiming at the luxury car market. It is expected that the model will reach mass production in October and begin delivery in November.