Australia markets closed
  • ALL ORDS

    6,865.30
    +18.00 (+0.26%)
     
  • ASX 200

    6,634.10
    +18.80 (+0.28%)
     
  • AUD/USD

    0.7427
    -0.0013 (-0.17%)
     
  • OIL

    46.09
    +0.45 (+0.99%)
     
  • GOLD

    1,842.00
    +0.90 (+0.05%)
     
  • BTC-AUD

    25,605.46
    -49.16 (-0.19%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    365.19
    -14.05 (-3.71%)
     
  • AUD/EUR

    0.6123
    +0.0001 (+0.02%)
     
  • AUD/NZD

    1.0529
    +0.0018 (+0.17%)
     
  • NZX 50

    12,631.38
    -17.53 (-0.14%)
     
  • NASDAQ

    12,528.48
    +61.35 (+0.49%)
     
  • FTSE

    6,550.23
    +59.96 (+0.92%)
     
  • Dow Jones

    30,218.26
    +248.74 (+0.83%)
     
  • DAX

    13,298.96
    +46.10 (+0.35%)
     
  • Hang Seng

    26,835.92
    +107.42 (+0.40%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    26,751.24
    -58.13 (-0.22%)
     

China's EV startup Xpeng pulls in $500 million Series C+

Rita Liao
·2-min read

Xpeng, an electric vehicle startup run by former Alibaba executive He Xiaopeng, said Monday it has raised around $500 million in a Series C+ round to further develop models tailored to China's tech-savvy middle-class consumers.

The announcement followed its Series C round of $400 million closed last November. A source told TechCrunch that the company's valuation at the time had exceeded the 25 billion yuan ($3.57 billion) round raised in August 2018.

The new proceeds bring the five-year-old Chinese startup's to-date fundings announced to $1.7 billion.

Over the past year, the startup has been ensnared in a legal battle with Tesla, which alleged that a former engineer stole Autopilot source code before joining Xpeng. The engineer Cao Guangzhi admitted downloading some of Tesla's source code but said he deleted all the files before leaving the company.

Tesla pressed forward with a subpoena on Xpeng seeking evidence like source code and computer images, which Xpeng described as a motion to "bully and disrupt a young competitor." The ongoing pandemic has delayed the case's proceedings.

Investors in Xpeng's latest round include Hong Kong-based private equity firm Aspex Management; the storied American tech hedge fund Coatue Management; China's top private equity fund Hillhouse Capital; and Sequoia Capital China. The other existing big-name backers are Foxconn, Xiaomi, GGV Capital, Morningside Venture Capital, IDG Capital, and Primavera Capital.

Despite the sizable round, Xpeng is headed for a slew of challenges. Electric vehicle sales in China have shrunk in the wake of reduced government subsidies set in motion last year, and the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to further dampen demand as the economy weakens.

Xpeng's Chinese rival Byton, which counts heavyweights backers like Tencent, FAW Group, and Foxconn, is already showing signs of strain as it furloughed about half of its 450 North America-based staff citing coronavirus impact. In June, the company put the brakes on production for internal reorganization.

Xpeng's other competitors seem to have proven more resilient. In April, Nasdaq-listed Nio secured a $1 billion investment for its Chinese entity, while Li Auto ventured to file for a U.S. public listing in July.

Xpeng claims it has so far been able to withstand coronavirus challenges. In May, the company obtained a production license for its fully-owned car plant in a city near its Guangzhou headquarters, signaling its reduced dependence on manufacturing partner Haima Automobile.