Chinese auto giant Geely’s EV brand raises $750 million in $13 billion valuation

Chinese auto giant Geely’s EV brand raises $750 million in $13 billion valuation

Zeekr’s flagship model, the Zeekr 001, on display in Shanghai, China.

Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Zeekr, an electric vehicle brand of Chinese billionaire Li Shufu’s Geely Holding Group, announced on Monday it raised $750 million from investors including Chinese billionaire Robin Zeng’s Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), the world’s largest EV battery maker by production capacity.

Participating in the funding round are Israeli billionaire Amnon Shashuathe cofounder and CEO of autonomous vehicle technology firm Mobileye—acquired by software giant Intel in 2017—and Yuexiu Industrial Fund, the investment arm of Guangzhou’s municipal government. The round valued the company, based in the coastal city of Ningbo in Zhejiang province, at $13 billion.

The funding is “a vote of confidence in the growth prospects and strong future of Zeekr,” said Daniel Donghui Li, CEO of Hangzhou-based Geely Holding Group, in a statement. “Geely Holding will continue to explore ways to unlock value across our portfolio as we pioneer new services and mobility solutions to meet customer demand across the world.”

The fresh capital will go towards building a global sales network and enhancing its research and development into proprietary technologies, said Zeekr, which was launched by Geely in 2021. Featuring AI-powered tools, such as an “anti-skid” driving system and a voice-activated car control assistant, the company’s flagship model Zeekr 001 can reportedly travel 641 miles on a single charge. By comparison, Tesla’s longest-range Model S tops out at 396 miles.

Zeekr sold over 70,000 cars last year, primarily in mainland China, and intends to tap into demand within Europe, the second-largest EV market in the world after China. In December, the company confidentially filed a U.S. IPO, according to Reuters. Zeekr did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Aside from Zeekr, Geely has collaborated with other manufacturers to produce EVs. In 2021, it formed a joint venture with Taiwanese billionaire Terry Gou’s Foxconn—best known as the manufacturer of Apple’s iPhones—to provide contract manufacturing for EV automakers. Last July, it collaborated with Chinese internet giant Baidu to unveil its first entirely autonomous electric vehicle, which does not include a steering wheel.

More broadly, domestic EV brands benefit from a continued nationwide push for green mobility. In 2022, deals in China’s EV sector reached $5.95 billion, according to data from research firm Preqin. That year, Chinese billionaire Wang Chuanfu’s Shenzhen-based EV maker BYD overtook Tesla as the world’s largest seller of EVs. Despite ending subsidies to EV buyers in January, Beijing has reaffirmed its ambition to transition to “clean” transportation, or electric and hybrid cars, by 2035.

MORE FROM FORBESChinese Autonomous Truck Startup Secures $188 Million In Funding From Sequoia China And Legend CapitalBy Catherine WangMORE FROM FORBESNewcomer EV Battery Manufacturer SK On Plans To Lead Global MarketBy Catherine Wang

Read More