It all started with an IPO. An initial public offering is usually a cause for celebration, but the biggest landmark in the history of Nio ended in dismay.

The company had initially hoped to raise $1.8 billion after landing on the New York Stock Exchange in September of last year. Instead, Nio ended up with just over half of that amount. The EV maker had also sought a valuation of $20 billion, according to Reuters. Nio eventually settled for $3.35 billion after listing.

It was too early to go public, observers had told TechNode. But the automotive business requires heaps of money, and Nio had been burning through its reserves. Its research and development, offices in Europe and the US, and manufacturing partnerships did not come cheap. Not to mention the payroll for their pre-IPO workforce—7,000 employees and counting.

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Jill Shen

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @yushan_shen

Chris Udemans

Christopher Udemans is a Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covers Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, and cybersecurity. You can contact him at chrisudemans [at] technode [dot] com.