Chinese EV Startup Byton Gets $100 Million Funding From State-Owned FAW Group

Chinese EV Startup Byton Seeking US$500 Million In Latest Funding Round
FILE PHOTO: A man checks a Byton Concept T car during a media preview at the Auto China 2018 motor show in Beijing, China April 25, 2019 (Photo: JASON LEE/REUTERS)
Byton EV
Byton K-Byte concept shown during an automotive show (Photo: Jengtingchen / Wikimedia Commons)

In its latest funding round, Chinese electric vehicle startup Byton immediately came US$100 million closer to its US$500 million funding target with the help of state-owned firm FAW Group. Byton is reportedly preparing to release a number of new electric vehicle models in China; a country with a growing demand for electric transport.

FAW Group, a Changchun-based automotive manufacturing company, led Byton's latest funding round with a US$100 million investment. China's third-largest automaker is scheduled to sign an agreement with Byton in the coming days. The investment injection brings Byton closer to its US$500 million funding goal, which would value the firm at around US$2.5 billion if it manages to hit its target.

The Chinese electric vehicle firm, which was co-founded by BMW and Nissan Motor executives, is currently attracting a lot of attention from investors both in China and overseas. Investors are apparently expecting a massive shift in the global automotive industry that has never been seen before. Apart from the United States, China has seen rapid adoption of the new technology over the past few years. Electric vehicle sales in China currently account for more than half of the world's overall electric car sales.

The country has also produced a number of successful fully-electric vehicle manufacturers. NIO Inc, which was recently listed in the United States, currently leads the way into the relatively new market. If Byton manages to reach its target funding, it will become part of an elite group of electric-vehicle startups that have managed to raise at least US$1 billion from investors.

Reports have estimated that over US$8 billion may have been poured into the electric market last year, with most of the funds going into Chinese electric startups. To further gain more capital, Byton executives announced that they are considering a public offering shortly after it begins production.

Byton, a division of the Chinese firm Future Mobility Corporation (FMC), currently has a manufacturing facility located in Nanjing, China. The facility, which was put up at a cost of US$1.7 billion, has a production capacity of around 150,000 vehicles. The firm plans to release its first electric vehicle mode, called the M-Byte, in China by the end of the year.

Byton also previously announced plans to offer its vehicles to North American and European markets by 2020.

The company plans to release three electric vehicles by 2022, which will include its Byton M-Byte Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), its Byton K-Byte luxury sedan, and an undisclosed third fully-electric model.  While the production models for the Byton M-Byte and the K-Byte have not yet been unveiled, the concept versions have made appearances in various automotive shows including the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last year.

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