The company behind the Chinese electric vehicle startup LeEco, Le Holdings, has announced that it has raised more than a billion dollars in new funding from Chinese investors (around ~$1.08 billion), according to recent reports.
This news follows the recent announcement (that we reported on) that the China-based firm WM Motor has raised $1 billion in new funding to be used to set up electric vehicle manufacturing in 2018. WM Motor is reportedly aiming to manufacture up to 100,000 electric vehicles a year by 2021.
With regard to LeEco, the firm seems to be more firmly focused on the luxury market than perhaps WM Motor is. The company’s LeEco’s LeSee electric sports car concept, for instance, seems to be intended as an alternative to a Tesla — with its featuring of high performance specs, and autonomous features such as self-parking via cellphone command.
Autoblog notes in its coverage that “all these moves come at a time when the expected market for plug-in vehicles in China is growing fast. The country is expected to sell perhaps 300,000 EVs this year, for example, and that number will only grow in the future with continued government support.” (For more details on China electric car sales, see “BYD Takes #1, #2, & #4 In China Electric Car Sales.”)
While it’s hard to say which firms will be successful, there clearly is a lot of opportunity in the Chinese market, so I’m sure that we can expect to see more and more of the above over the coming years. That’s even if the Chinese government doesn’t pursue a more aggressive incentives strategy at some point, which is an open question.