Another Chinese aspirant to Tesla’s throne, Weltmeister (威马汽车) has just announced a second funding round within a month. Three weeks ago the electric car startup announced to have secured funding from Baidu while the latest round led by Minmetals Capital, Tencent and Sequoia Capital was announced today.
Weltmeister has also reached an agreement for strategic cooperation with the Chentong Fund and Minmetals. But the more interesting part of the financing news is the company’s deals with China’s tech giants Baidu and Tencent. The company’s CEO Freeman H. Shen has stated that the entry of Tencent will bring more resources for Weltmeister in the areas in which Tencent rules—connectivity and content. Weltmeister’s total financing has now reached RMB 12 billion.
The electric automobile sector seems to become the new hot sector for tech, and Chinese tech giants Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent have all poured money into the industry. It’s worth noting that Tencent has invested in both NIO and Weltmeister. Weltmeister’s CEO told TechNode there are are a lot of comprehensive reasons why big technology companies want to invest in electric vehicles.
“Chinese new energy vehicles and smart cars are the most viable track in the automotive industry, Chinese enterprises have an opportunity to grow as a world-class car and travel operators,” said Shen.
The company aims to build Tesla for the masses, a smart EV based on AI, hardware, software, and services, according to Shen. The initial price of the first product will be at a range of RMB 200 000.