Briefing: EV startup WM Motor will raise at least $288 million investment from Baidu and others

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Chinese EV startup WM Motor raising at least $288 million from Baidu, others: sources —Reuters

What happened: Chinese electric vehicle maker WM Motor (Weltmeister Motor) is planning to raise at least RMB 2 billion ($288.33 million) in its latest funding round which will likely be lead by Baidu, according to Reuters’ sources. The new funding should put the company’s valuation at over 20 billion yuan. WM Motor’s investors include Baidu, Tencent, Sequoia Capital China and government-backed investment firm China Chengtong Fund. WM said the size of the latest fundraising would exceed RMB 3 billion.

Why it’s important: WM Motors has placed itself among the promising “Teslas of China,” which include recently IPO-ed NIO—who counts Tencent as one of its investors—and Alibaba-backed Xpeng. WM Motors has had some bad press this August when a test vehicle spontaneously combusted at its Chengdu research institute, just one month before a mass delivery of the cars to customers. The company aims to deliver 10,000 vehicles by the end of this year with targeted deliveries of another 90,000 units in 2019.