The Chinese electric car startup WM Motor has now generated 1.25 billion euros ($1.47Bn or RMB 10Bn). The most recent round of financing was led by SAIC Motor’s investment platform and the Shanghai Municipal Asset Monitoring and Management Commission.
According to Gasgoo WM Motor’s latest financing of 10 billion yuan is the highest-ever amount for a single round of fundraising launched by EV startups. The stellar Chinese electric car startup will be using the finances for the R&D of intelligent technologies, brand construction, digital marketing and sales channel expansion.
The D round is likely to be the last round of financing before WM Motor aims to go public in 2021, according to the China automotive news site Gasgoo, citing a source briefed on the company’s affairs.
WM Motor’s D round financing is jointly led by a state-owned investment platform (Shanghai Municipal State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission) and state-owned carmaker SAIC Motor – both of which are based in Shanghai just like WM Motors (along with Tesla’s China factory). Other investors include big names such as Baidu, SIG, Yangtze River Industry Fund, Suzhou Kunshan Industry Fund, State Development & Investment Corp., Guangzhou Finance Holdings, Sino IC Leasing, Tsinghua Unigroup, Hongta Group and AGILE.
Shortly before its funding news, WM Motor announced its key partners and suppliers: US-American firm Qualcomm whereby Snapdragon’s cockpit chips will power the startup’s in-cabin experience; Baidu’s open-source autonomous vehicle technology platform Apollo whereby Apollo’s autonomous driving system will give WM vehicles self-parking capability; Unisplendour, born of China’s Tsinghua University, which will take care of the hardware side of autonomous driving; and lastly, integrated circuit company Sino IC Leasing will work on ‘car connectivity’ for WM Motor. The latter company specialises in leasing financing, as well as investing in the integrated circuit and semiconductor fields.
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In announcing these partnerships, WM Motors said these technologies would go into: “A smart car with the Internet of Everything, Xiaowei and friends built together! In the field of intelligence, Weltmeister Motors teamed up with Qualcomm, Baidu, Ziguang, Xinxin and other partners to build the strongest intelligent ally of the car, making the car smarter and understand you better!”
The startup recently announced its plans for the next 3-5 years. The company aims to allocate 20 billion yuan (2.95 billion US dollars) and 3,000 engineers to work on 5G-powered smart cockpits, Level-4 driving and other emerging auto technologies. These will be directed into mass-produced products and services placed in mainstream price ranges. WM Motors aims to manufacture what they are calling ‘Everything Connected’ mobility terminals, which they say will best suit Chinese spec users’ demands and road conditions.
WM Motor currently offers two series models: The EX5 was launched in China in April 2018. The 30,000th unit is scheduled to be delivered at the beginning of July. This was followed in November 2019 by the EX6, of which almost 900 units were registered in the first half of 2020. A further model is to follow this year.
In March 2019, WM Motor raised around 400 million euros in a financing round led by China’s Google, Baidu. The investment primarily went into R&D as WM Motors and Baidu started their ‘Intelligent Vehicle Joint Research Center’. In October 2018, the company was reportedly able to raise 288 million USD for both manufacture and R&D.
“The closing of the D round financing indicates that investors are upbeat about the prospect of the intelligent new energy vehicle industry, and highly recognise WM Motor’s position as a technology innovation company, its long-term development strategy, outstanding core talent team and industry-leading cutting-edge technologies,” said Freeman Shen Hui, WM Motor’s founder, chairman and CEO.
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