With the entry of Tesla in the region, China has suddenly become a hub of innovation for the electric automobiles market, and WM Motor Technology Group Co. Ltd is the latest electric vehicle manufacturer to benefit from this opportunity. The Chinese electric vehicle startup has raised $1.47 billion (10 billion yuan) in its Series D financing round.
The latest funding was led by a Shanghai state-owned investor group and SAIC Motors, and saw participation from Baidu, Tencent and SIG as well. Strategic investors such as Yangtze River Industry Fund, State Development & Investment Corporation (‘SDIC’), Guangzhou Finance Holdings Group, Sino IC Leasing, Tsinghua Unigroup, Hongta Group, Agile, and Yingke Capital, participated as well.
“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, Chairman and CEO of WM Motor.
The company has expressed intentions to use these new funds in intelligent technology research and development, brand building, digital marketing and channel expansion. WM Motors is looking forward to building a team of 3000 engineers who will develop futuristic technology like the 5G-powered smart cockpits and Level-4 driving, for mass production and at reasonable prices. It will boost its ‘Thousand Cities, Thousand Locations’ plan that aims to achieve its goal of channel expansion by creating more diversified touch-points between the customers and the WM Motors brand.
WM Motor Technology Group Co. Ltd was founded in 2015 by Freeman Shen, a former chairman of Volvo’s China operations. It introduced its first road car SUV in May 2018, the EX5, at the Beijing Auto Show. The cars are produced at its own built factory in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province.
The electric automobile company is backed by Chinese giants – Baidu and Tencent and is among the highest funded electric vehicle startup in China. It has partnered with several other companies to help produce its electric cars. For instance, Snapdragon supplies WM with cockpit chips that power the in-cabin experience; Unisplendour provides support in hardware for self-driving technology; Baidu is a helping hand in giving WM cars self-parking abilities with its Apollo autonomous driving system, and Sino IC Leasing works on the ‘car connectivity’ for WM Motor vehicles.
All of this has been facilitated by the entry of Tesla in the region, which operates a gigafactory in Shanghai. The factory has managed to thrive despite the threat of the coronavirus, and played a huge role in Tesla’s surging performance in Q2. With the growing market that has been created by the courtesy of the American car manufacturer, China can expect a lot of EV makers in the future.