Gaming firm The9 partners with Faraday Future to run EV business in China

2 min read
(Image credit: Faraday Future)

After a series of furloughs, pay cuts, and a plant closure, embattled electric vehicle (EV) maker Faraday Future (FF) appears to have seized on a second life. A Chinese gaming company plans to invest millions of dollars to be the sales agent for its upcoming vehicle model V9.

According to an announcement released Sunday by Faraday, the company has signed an agreement with Shanghai-based internet company The9 Limited to form a joint venture, with both sides owning 50% of the new company. The joint company will manage the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of Faraday Future’s new V9 in China, a flagship luxury EV model designed and developed by Faraday.

The9 is putting $600 million into the JV, but Chinese media is reporting rumors that Hong Kong-based financial firm AMTD Group and US investment bank Maxim are also involved in the deal, citing a person familiar with the deal. The JV is expected to reach an annual production capacity of 300,000 units and roll out the first batch of V9 vehicles for order in 2020.

“We believe our alliance with FF provides us with a great opportunity to pursue the fast-growing market of electric vehicles in China,” Zhu Jun, CEO of The9 said in the announcement, mentioning Faraday’s “leading technology” and “world-class talents.” Zhu recently visited Faraday’s US headquarters after meeting its founder Jia Yueting several times, The Paper reported on Friday citing an investment bank employee as saying.

The9 was the second Chinese online gaming company listing on the US stock market after the Shanda Group, going public on Nasdaq in 2005. This was one year after it formed a five-year partnership with US game developer Blizzard Entertainment for the exclusive operation of hit title World of Warcraft in mainland China. The company’s business has stagnated since 2009 when Blizzard moved to Netease.

The partnership with Faraday comes three months after the electric vehicle company settled a months-long spat with its former investor, Chinese real estate giant Evergrande, in December. Before that, the US-based startup has been dealing with mounting debt, massive layoffs, and unpaid wages for months. It has announced that it will sell its 900-acre property located in Las Vegas, as well as its headquarters in Los Angeles earlier this month, as it seeks to raise more funds for the mass-production of its vehicles.