Chinese EV startup Aiways said to seek funding ahead of IPO: Report

Visuals from Aiways' website

Aichi Automobile, a Chinese electric vehicle (EV) startup better known as Aiways, is in the market raising a new funding round that could give it a valuation of over $2 billion before its potential initial public offering (IPO) in the US.

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing is one of the investors mulling participating in the investment, Bloomberg first reported on January 21, citing people familiar with the matter. The people said that Aiways plans to use the new capital to fund its global expansion.

Discussions around the fundraising plans are ongoing and details like the funding size could still change, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Aiways and DiDi did not immediately respond to DealStreetAsia’s email requests for comment.

Founded in 2017 by Chinese entrepreneurs Samuel Fu and Gary Gu, Aiways has launched its first fully electric sport utility vehicle (SUV) model Aiways U5 in November 2018 and later introduced Aiways U6 ion and Aiways U7 ion.

The startup has a battery pack factory in eastern China’s Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province and a manufacturing plant in Shangrao City, Jiangxi Province with an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles. The Shanghai-based startup also operates from its European R&D and sales centre in Munich, Germany, as well as a manufacturing base in Denmark.

While competition grows fiercer in the domestic EV market with the presence of Tesla, Nio, Xpeng, and WM Motor, Aiways is actively looking at opportunities outside of China with an extensive focus on the European Union (EU). Since its official entry into Germany in March 2020, the firm has delivered EVs to markets including Netherlands, Belgium, and most recently, France.

In May 2019, Aiways secured 1 billion yuan ($154.3 million) in a Series B round from Mingchi Fund, a special-purpose vehicle (SPV) created by a government-guided investment platform in southeastern China’s Jiangxi Province. Beijing-based law firm DeHeng Law Offices, which advised on the deal, disclosed the financing details in a WeChat post in June 2019.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.