Chinese car maker Beijing Automotive Group’s (BAIC Group) electric vehicle business unit, BAIC BJEV, has raised a RMB11.1 billion (US$1.6 billion) series B round from 14 investors, including state-owned enterprises China Cinda Asset Management Co., Ltd. and Zhongji Investment, a firm co-founded by the Hebei provincial government.
The round values BJEV at RMB28 billion (US$4.2 billion) post-money, according to a company announcement, adding a new member to China Money Network’s China Unicorn Ranking.
The Beijing Economic and Technological Development Area, a state-level economic and technological development zone in the capital, contributed to the investment by providing one of its industrial parks to BJEV as its production facility.
After completion of the new financing round, BJEV will have 33 major shareholders. State-owned enterprises will have a combined 67.55% stake in the company, with parent BAIC Group and its affiliates owning 41.19%. Private capital including various investment firms and private enterprises have a combined 32.04% interest, while employees hold around 0.41%.
China became the largest electric car market globally in 2016, with 336,000 new electric vehicle sold last year. The number was more than double that of the U.S., where 160,000 EV cars were sold during the same period. Other top-five EV markets include Norway, the U.K. and France, according to the International Energy Agency.
Founded in 2009, BJEV is currently one of the largest electric vehicle company in China, with 30,000 EVs sold during the first half of this year. China’s BYD Co., Ltd., backed by U.S. investor Warren Buffett, is the largest EV company worldwide in terms of combined sales volume of both plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and pure electric vehicles.
BJEV said it plans to sell 170,000 EVs this year, though with just 36,000 cars sold during the first seven months it is currently far short of its target. The company said the miss was due to policy changes this year, as China has required EV makers to reapply for subsidy quotas and government incentives were scaled back.
In May, BAIC formed a strategic partnership with Daimler AG, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz. The two firms agreed to jointly invest RMB5 billion (US$735 million) in battery-powered electric vehicle production in China by 2020 and jointly build the needed infrastructure.