Caixin
Jul 31, 2020 07:41 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Electric-SUV Maker Li Auto Has Strong First Day on Nasdaq

Li Auto is the second Chinese electric-car startup to list in the U.S., following in the footsteps of Nio Inc., which listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2018.
Li Auto is the second Chinese electric-car startup to list in the U.S., following in the footsteps of Nio Inc., which listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2018.

Chinese electric-car maker Li Auto Inc. has become the latest company to cash in on strong investor interest in the technology in recent months, launching a $1.1 billion IPO in the U.S. that saw shares rise impressively on their Nasdaq debut.

Li Auto closed at $16.46 on Thursday, up 43% from its offering price of $11.5, which was already higher than its original plan of pricing up to $10. It was the largest share sale by a Chinese company on a U.S. stock exchange since last year.

Li Auto is the second Chinese electric-car startup to list in the U.S., following in the footsteps of Nio Inc., which listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2018.

The markets are set to welcome more listings from Chinese electric-car makers in the near future. Guangzhou-based Xpeng Motors has reportedly made a confidential filing to list in the U.S., while Hozon New Energy Automobile Co. said this month it wants to go public in Shanghai as soon as next year.

Founded in 2015 by entrepreneur Li Xiang, Li Auto rolled out its first car model — an SUV named Li ONE — at the end of last year, and is planning to launch a premium model in 2022. The company spent its first few years in the red amid massive research spending, reporting a 1.5 billion yuan net loss in 2018.

However, since it started delivering vehicles last year, its revenue has climbed and losses narrowed. For the three months through June, the company had revenue of 1.9 billion yuan and net losses of 75 million yuan. As of the end of June, the company sold 10,473 Li ONEs.

In addition to the share sale, Li Auto this week also managed to raise a total of $380 million through private placements from investors including Chinese food delivery giant Meituan Dianping and ByteDance Ltd., the Beijing-based owner of the TikTok short video app.

Li Auto’s strong IPO will help build up its war chest to compete in the rapidly changing electric car market in China, which has seen sales drop since Beijing slashed subsidies to buyers. Chinese players are also facing pressure from U.S. electric car leader Tesla Inc., which earlier this year started to deliver cars produced in its Shanghai factory.

After a long period of struggling to ramp up car production, Nio recently came back to life following a tie-up with the local government in East China’s Anhui province.

Contact reporter Mo Yelin (yelinmo@caixin.com) and editor Joshua Dummer (joshuadummer@caixin.com)

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