Chinese internet giant LeEco announced Monday that its electric car affiliate Le Supercar has raised $1.08 billion USD fresh funding, the largest first round funding ever in automotive industry, according to the company.
As the huge sum entails, the company disclosed a lengthy investor list that includes big names like Lenovo, Yingda Capital, a venture capital firm backed by State Grid, Shenzhen Municipality-backed Shenzhen Capital Group, China Minsheng Trust, Macrolink Group and Hongzhao Capital.
LeEco, which is to China what Netflix is to the rest of the world, started from video streaming service and quickly expanded to a plethora of businesses from film production to smart TV, smart phones, e-commerce and cloud computing. Company founder and CEO Jia Yieting said in a previous interview that LeEco’s current model is the “ultimate combination of Tesla, Uber, Apple Amazon and Netflix.”
As a major part of LeEco’s business ecosystem, the company launched its super car project back in 2014. Jia disclosed that the project now has over 1,000 staff. Some of the team members reportedly are former Tesla, BMW and GM employees.
In addition, Le Supercar is developing a global industrial chain in partnership with leaders in auto industry. It has partnered with Aston Martin, GAC Group and U.S. electric car startup Faraday Future, which promised last year to spend $1 billion USD on a factory built near Las Vegas. In August this year, LeEco has signed cooptation agreement with Zhejiang provincial government to set up an auto park in Deqing City with $3 billion investment.
While building automotive is a cash-burning endeavor, Le Supercar has been questioned with funding problems since its launch. This round will probably ease the funding pressure of the company. Jia indicates that the tie-up with state-backed and private conglomerate investors will smooth their way in seeking more supports.
LeSupercar’s financing is just part of LeEco’s funding spree to maintain its explosive growth to a variety of industries. The company’s cloud and sports unites have received 1 billion yuan and 8 billion yuan funding respectively this year.
At the same event, LeEco announced the sales data of its “919” shopping festival has reached 4.48 billion RMB in the past 24 hours.