Date
21 November 2017
Nio counts Tencent as its main backer alongside investment firms Hillhouse Capital Group and Sequoia Capital. Photo: Reuters
Nio counts Tencent as its main backer alongside investment firms Hillhouse Capital Group and Sequoia Capital. Photo: Reuters

China electric car startup Nio raises over US$1 bln

Chinese electric vehicle startup Nio has raised more than US$1 billion in its latest fundraising round, led by existing investor Tencent Holdings Ltd, valuing the firm at about US$5 billion, Reuters reports, citing two people with knowledge of the matter.

New investors in the round include US hedge fund Lone Pine Capital, Chinese investment firm CITIC Capital and Scottish fund manager Baillie Gifford, said one of the people.

The fundraising comes as Beijing has been promoting electric vehicles in its battle with urban smog, with startups flooding the market after it opened up the sector to investment from technology firms and other backers outside the industry.

Shanghai-based Nio, founded by Chinese internet entrepreneur William Li in 2014, has already attracted big-name investors, counting Tencent as its main backer alongside investment firms Hillhouse Capital Group and Sequoia Capital.

Nio, formerly known as NextEV, is also among the first of a raft of Chinese electric vehicle firms to launch a production vehicle, with many so far only showing concept cars.

Its first mass production car — the ES8 pure-electric, seven-seat sport-utility vehicle is set to be released in mid- December, according to the company. Chairman Li told Reuters in April that the model would offer more features than the Tesla Model X at a lower price.

Tencent is also an investor in US electric car maker Tesla Inc.

Nio has also vowed to bring an autonomous electric car to the US market by 2020. The firm said in April it was teaming up with China’s fourth-largest automaker Chongqing Changan Automobile to form a joint venture to cooperate on researching and selling electric cars.

It was valued at about 20 billion yuan (US$3.02 billion) when it raised US$600 million in March, according to Chinese media reports at the time.

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