Byton resumes operations as Shengteng
There is news about the electric car start-up Byton, which has been temporarily suspended since 01 July. Chinese media now report, citing insiders, that the company is ready to resume full operations in September 2020.
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The media reports also say that Byton intends to go public: Byton has applied for registration of a new technology company called Shengteng, which is expected to receive an operating license at the end of August. The company is also trying to raise 2 billion yuan from the FAW Group and other investors to advance the mass production of M-Byte.
At the end of June, it looked as if Byton would not be able to cope with the consequences of the pandemic. Spokesman Dave Buchko announced a six-month break starting 1 July and the dismissal of almost all employees worldwide. A comeback seemed unlikely at this point – as reported. Autonews Gasgoo now reports in the aftermath of the plant closure that only 100 employees remain at the headquarters in Nanjing and that the offices in North America and Germany had to file for bankruptcy.
In the meantime, the number of employees is said to have risen slightly to 130. On the basis of a restructuring plan presented by the FAW Group, Byton will also apparently become a contract manufacturer of a Hongqi brand electric model. One-third of the annual production capacity in Nanjing (50,000 to 150,000 units) is to be kept free for this purpose.
Update 11 September 2020: As suggested above, Byton has indeed reconciled and took up trading again, now as Shengteng. The “new” technology firm registered on 9 September as ‘Nanjing Shengteng Automobile Technology Co.,Ltd.’ with registered capital of 1.5 billion ($219.356 million).
Shengteng describes areas of the business as R&D of components, the sale of complete new energy vehicles, NEV accessories and PHEV-specific engines and the development of AI software.
Former Byton’s vice-president of R&D in China, Duan Lianxiang, serves as legal representative and general manager, holding a 6.67% equity stake in Shengteng.
Other shareholders include FAW Equity Investment, wholly controlled by FAW Group, that invested 50 million dollars. Also, the Nanjing city government is said to have given an undertaking to invest $150 million in Byton becoming Shengteng.