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.