Ten­cent bets big on Tesla ri­val Nex­tEV

Shen­zhen-based firm leads the group of in­vestors who sup­port new-energy car­maker

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By CHI­NADAILY

Ten­cent Hold­ings Ltd is back­ing a Chi­nese ver­sion of global mar­ket leader Tesla Mo­tors Inc in a new push to tap into the boom­ing elec­tric car mar­ket.

The cash-rich com­pany is among a group of in­vestors which poured money into Nex­tEV Co Ltd, a Shang­haibased elec­tric car man­u­fac­turer, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by Reuters.

With­out of­fer­ing fur­ther de­tails of the in­vest­ment, a spokes­woman for Nex­tEV told Reuters that the startup is al­ready lur­ing em­ploy­ees from in­ter­na­tional car­mak­ers.

Among the com­pany’s new staff are Martin Leach, for­mer pres­i­dent of Ford Mo­tor Co’s Euro­pean branch, who now serves as co-pres­i­dent of Nex­tEV.

The spokes­woman said the com­pany will launch its first model in 2016, which could ac­cel­er­ate from 0 to 100 kilo­me­ters an hour within 3 sec­onds. Ten­cent de­clined to com­ment on the de­vel­op­ment.

Founded a year ago, Nex­tEV has of­fices in the United States and Europe, ac­cord­ing to its of­fi­cial LinkedIn page.

The re­port came shortly af­ter China over­took the US as the largest mar­ket for newen­ergy ve­hi­cles. In the first half of this year, more than 72,000 green cars were sold in China, about 20,000 units more than the fig­ure in the US, ac­cord­ing to data from the China As­so­ci­a­tion of Au­to­mo­bileMan­u­fac­tur­ers.

The move is also the latest ef­fort by Ten­cent to cash in on the elec­tric car boom. In March, the so­cial net­work­ing gi­ant part­nered with­HonHai Pre­ci­sion In­dus­try Co Ltd and lux­ury car dealer China Har­mony Auto Hold­ing Ltd to man­u­fac­ture and sell smart elec­tric cars.

Alibaba GroupHold­ing Ltd and Baidu Inc, two ma­jor ri­vals of Ten­cent, are also eye­ing the sec­tor. They have teamed up with SAIC Mo­tor Corp Ltd and BMW re­spec­tively on sim­i­lar ini­tia­tives.

Gene Cao, a se­nior an­a­lyst at mar­ket re­search firm For­rester Re­search Inc, said it is highly pos­si­ble for China to have a home­grown elec­tric car­maker to com­pete with Tesla.

“Un­like the US-based com­pany which thrives on pure tech­no­log­i­cal edges, Chi­nese In­ter­net heavy­weights have lit­tle or no automotive back­ground. But they are vet­er­ans in con­sol­i­dat­ing re­sources and good at com­ing up with new busi­ness mod­els” Cao said.

“Their en­try will at­tract even more cash and tal­ent, which is key for the re­search and de­vel­op­ment of cars pow­ered by re­new­able energy,” Cao said. “A glob­ally com­pe­tent Chi­nese elec­tric car­maker is likely to emerge in the next fewyears,” he said.

Ear­lier this year, the gov­ern­ment listed new-energy ve­hi­cles as one of the 10 key in­dus­tries in its na­tional strat­egy — Made in China 2025, and ex­pects sales to cross 2 mil­lion units by 2020.

Pan Wei, an an­a­lyst with Bei­jing-based In­ter­net con­sul­tancy Analysys In­ter­na­tional, said the ap­peal of elec­tric ve­hi­cles lies in the huge num­ber of driv­ers.

“Smart elec­tric cars can bet­ter dig­i­tize the be­hav­ior of China’s more than 100 mil­lion driv­ers,” Pan said. “This will help In­ter­net com­pa­nies col­lect a huge amount of data, pro­file their pref­er­ences and thus gen­er­ate more profit from each user.”

Ma Si con­trib­uted to this story.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.