Geely EV brand Zeekr raises $500 million from investors


Zeekr Intelligent Technology Co., the electric-vehicle brand aiming its cars at a younger, trendier demographic in China, has raised $500 million in its first external funding round, according to a statement Friday.

Five investors participated, including the world’s biggest EV battery maker, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. The other investors were Intel Capital, which led the round, online entertainment group Bilibili Inc., Cathay Fortune Group and alternative asset manager Boyu Capital.

The Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co.'s Zeekr Co. 001 electric vehicle at Auto Shanghai 2021.

Zeekr, which is owned by Geely Automobile Holding Ltd. and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., said the raising was a vote of confidence and noted its first 001 model has a sold-out order book for this year. “Zeekr is now poised to expand more rapidly together with new partner investors,” it said.

China’s EV sector is heating up with scores of carmakers offering consumers a plethora of choices should they wish to make the switch from an internal combustion engine car. Regulators earlier this week said they would punish those who violate the law by raising prices of new-energy vehicles inspection services via collusion, another indication of the frothiness in the sector.

While overall sales of cars, sport utility vehicles and multipurpose vehicles fell 6.4% in July from a year earlier, new-energy vehicle sales, which include electric cars and plug-in hybrids, surged almost 170% to 222,000 units, China’s Passenger Car Association said earlier this month.

The strong momentum prompted the PCA to raise its forecast for NEV sales this year to 2.4 million cars from an earlier estimate of 2.2 million. 

Zeekr’s investors will help it to access new battery technologies as well as raw materials. Cathay Fortune is a global producer of cobalt and copper, key metals used in the production of EV batteries. The five will receive an aggregate shareholding equivalent to around 5.6% of the enlarged issued share capital of the company, according to the statement.

Zeekr plans to introduce six different models in the coming five years and is targeting annual sales of 650,000 by 2025, Geely President An Conghui said in an interview earlier this year.

— With assistance by Charlie Zhu, and Chunying Zhang