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NIO Passes 300,000 Sales, Zeekr Going Public (Seeking $1 Billion+)

We’ve got some notable news from two Chinese EV startups from this past week or so. NIO has hit a big sales milestone, and Zeekr is looking to go public in the USA and raise at least $1 billion.

The Chinese EV startup NIO has now passed 300,000 cumulative sales. Five years ago, this would have been a stunning achievement. Today, this is still a great milestone for a young company to reach, but it’s clear that the EV market is much larger than it was even a year or two ago and we expect fast growth from NIO since it’s a top EV company in terms of tech and its overall EV ecosystem. It’s possible NIO could even sell 300,000 EVs next year. Though, that would require selling about 25,000 vehicles a month instead of nearly 15,000 a month. One thing that might help: NIO is going to launch 5 new models in the first half of 2023! That’s a big step up in its offerings and the company could see a notable boost in sales.

Getting back to the news, NIO’s 300,000th vehicle rolled off the line at its “Second Advanced Manufacturing Base” in Hefei. “Since the production of its first smart EV in May 2018, NIO has been breaking records of production speed and dedicated to building up its production capacity,” NIO writes. The company also highlighted its growing presence outside of China. “NIO has continuously kept expanding its global presence. In the first half of 2022, NIO became the first automaker listed in the US, Hong Kong, and Singapore. NIO started service and delivery of ET7 in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden in October. NIO has built an innovation center in Berlin while setting up an artificial intelligence and autonomous driving R&D center in Singapore. NIO will be serving users in more than 25 countries and territories by 2025. […] As of December 12, NIO has 395 NIO Houses and NIO Spaces, 1,263 Power Swap Stations, 12,785 charging piles, and access to over 998,000 third-party charging piles.”

Zeekr is even younger than NIO, but it is getting serious enough in its growth plans that it now plans to go public through an initial public offering (IPO), according to Reuters. One can’t say that Zeekr is a standalone Chinese startup like NIO, though, as it is a subsidiary of Chinese auto giant Geely (which also owns Volvo Cars and Polestar, by the way). Nonetheless, as its own brand, Zeekr wants to go public. Overall, Geely has 7 different auto brands that produce and sell electric vehicles, and 3 of them are premium/luxury brands.

According to the Reuters report, Zeekr is seeking a valuation above $10 billion, and it wants to raise more than $1 billion. In its first external fundraising round, earlier this year, Zeekr had a valuation of $9 billion. The IPO could be as soon as Q2 2023, but the company has reportedly just filed the initial paperwork.

Zeekr has one model on the market right now, the 001. It is only available in China, but is supposed to hit the European market in 2023.

It’s been a while since any Chinese EV companies went public on a US stock exchange. You may recall that there was also a period of time this year when there seemed to be high risk of delisting of Chinese stocks. That has been cleared up and overcome, it seems. “The IPO filing comes after Beijing and Washington reached a landmark auditing deal in August, sharply reducing the threat of delisting for more than 200 New York-listed Chinese companies,” Reuters writes.

With 60,600 sales in the first 9 months of 2022, one cannot call Zeekr a major automaker, but the aim is surely quick and massive growth. $1 billion could help a bit in that regard.