Faraday Future, the EV startup funded by wheeler-dealer LeEco founder Jia Yueting, seems to have begun construction work for an electric vehicle plant in Guangzhou’s Nansha district through its newly-formed affiliate Ruichi Smart Car. The move could prove controversial as Jia and his business network are highly indebted in China and his assets frozen here.

The plot of land designated for construction in a part of the free-trade zone dedicated to smart equipment and new energy vehicles was bought by Ruichi Smart Car on April 8th. However, the source of the funding for the RMB 364 million plot is unknown. The Paper visited the site of the plant (in Chinese) to find construction workers preparing the fertile farmland for building. Other workers at the site denied it was for Ruichi. 

Faraday Future is Jia Yueting’s attempt to take on Tesla with luxury smart EVs that are autonomous-ready. After hemorrhaging cash, the venture has been bailed out by unknown investors in Hong Kong to the tune of $2 billion. Following complex stock rearrangements, about 45% of Faraday Future now belongs to a range of companies in the Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands, according to The Verge. The company’s IP is being used as collateral meaning Jia and Faraday Future is in a precarious position. Jia is the founder and CEO of the company but the ownership of Faraday Future is unclear. 

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Frank Hersey

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...