Chinese Electric Vehicle Company WM Motor Raises About $1.5 Billion

By Annie Baker ● Sep 22, 2020
  • WM Motor — a rapidly growing electric vehicle company in China — announced it raised 10 billion yuan ($1.47 billion) from several state-backed investors

WM Motor — a rapidly growing electric vehicle company in China — announced it raised 10 billion yuan ($1.47 billion) from a group of several state-backed investors, according to Nikkei. This funding round was led by SAIC Motor and the investment arm of the Shanghai government.

The regional governments of Hubei Province and the cities of Suzhou, Hengyang, Hefei, and Guangzhou had invested through funds they control. And existing investors Baidu and Susquehanna International Group also joined the round.

This funding round will provide the resources necessary for the company to compete against larger rivals like Tesla in China. WM Motor’s larger local rivals include Li Auto, Xpeng Motors, and Nio. Those companies have all done IPOs in the U.S.

With this funding round, WM also plans to hire thousands of engineers around the world over the next few years in order to create an ecosystem for connecting drivers and vehicles. And it will also be used for expanding its stores, branding, and sales and marketing.

“The completion of the funding round reflects the confidence of investors on the prospect of China’s smart new energy vehicle industry,” said WM Motor founder and CEO Freeman Shen via Nikkei.

Prior to launching WM Motor, Shen was a board member and executive at Geely. And Shen oversaw Geely’s acquisition of Volvo from Ford in 2010. Following the acquisition, Shen worked as the chairman of Volvo. And WM Motor co-founder Lobo Lu and Chief Technology Officer Yan Feng both previously worked at SAIC.

WM Motor currently has two models for sale: a compact crossover SUV called the EX5 and a mid-sized all-electric SUV called the EX6 Plus. Next year, WM is expected to launch a new SUV model called Evolve.