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Freeman Shen, MW Motor's founder
 
Baidu to help fund Chinese EV start-up WM Motors
Reuters | 2017/12/8

BEIJING -- Chinese electric vehicle startup WM Motor Technology Co. will receive a sizable investment from a group led by Baidu Capital, WM Motor¡¯s CEO told Reuters.
 
Freeman Shen, who left Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. to establish WM Motor, said the investors also include Chinese venture capitalist Amiba Capital and U.S. trading firm Susquehanna International Group LLP.
 
Shen, in a telephone interview on Tuesday, declined to discuss the size of the investment. Two people familiar with the matter told Reuters the figure was in the billions of yuan.
 
The automaker has raised 12 billion yuan ($1.81 billion) during its three-year life, Shen said.
 
¡°The whole project probably needs about 20 billion yuan, so we have a bit more fundraising to do,¡± he said.
 
WM Motor is one of several Chinese-funded EV startups that are counting on local production to compete with EV maker Tesla Inc., which has to import cars from the United States and pays a 25 percent tariff.
 
Tesla is discussing an assembly plant in Shanghai with municipal officials, but has yet to announce plans.
 
Other Chinese EV startups include Future Mobility Corp. with its Byton brand, and Singulato Motors.
 
All-electric cars from WM Motor and others are not scheduled for launch until next year. They hope to compete with Tesla¡¯s first mass-market car, the Model 3 sedan.
 
WM Motor¡¯s Shen said he will start taking orders for the company¡¯s first model, an all-electric SUV, during the Beijing auto show in April.
 
Low-volume production will begin in the first quarter of next year at WM Motor¡¯s assembly plant in the east China city of Wenzhou. The plant eventually will produce up to 100,000 vehicles a year.

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