Chinese electric carmaker NIO eyes US$1.8b IPO in America

Friday, September 14, 2018

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BEIJING, China (AFP) — Chinese electric carmaker NIO has filed for a US$1.8-billion initial public offering in the United States as the burgeoning company seeks to compete with US rival Tesla.

NIO is one of dozens of new automakers to crop up in China as policymakers in Beijing push an all-electric future for the world's largest auto market.

American, Japanese and European auto giants dominate sales of combustion engine vehicles in China, but homegrown firms unencumbered by the billions sunk into refining gasoline engines are in the driver's seat when it comes to electric cars.

While Tesla chief Elon Musk is in talks with Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund and other investors to take his company private, NIO filed papers at the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday to go public.

But the upstart Chinese automaker faces a long road ahead for its proposed float of up to US$1.8 billion on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company had delivered only 481 of its first mass production electric SUV model the ES8 by the end of July, with reservations and deposits in place for an additional 17,000.

NIO is backed by tech giant Tencent and several private equity firms.

It brought in US$7 million in sales during the first half of the year while racking up a loss of more than US$500 million.

The new energy vehicle market is exploding in China as Beijing uses carrots and sticks to prod carmakers and consumers down the electric path.

Last year the market grew 53 per cent to 780,000 units, though new energy vehicles still constitute only 2.7 per cent of total car sales.

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