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Many companies are currently trying to get a foot in the door for the new automotive market. Key trends here are electric vehicles, often referred to by their acronym ‘EV,’ which is not necessarily limited to only cars, and of course the self-driving car, also known as autonomous cars. This is contested space not only for large dominant brands that have been running the show since Ford. There are also many startups and other newcomers that want to sell their visions to investors and later, hopefully, to consumers.

In this niche, you hear a lot about Tesla, Uber, Waymo and some other brands from the US but you don’t see that much news from other regions. I thought it might be interesting to pinpoint some of the startups from China as well in this article. As I thought it’s interesting to see who actually backed these young companies, I have also included the investors, as far as it’s publicly known. I was surprised to see a Daimler here and there just as well as the VC titan Sequoia Capital.

You can find below ten Chinese startups with the most substantial funding. I also added a list of more companies below, which are also relevant but have not received as much backing yet. This listing does not rank the products of the respective startups. If you’re curious about the market in China, you can start your research with these organizations.

BAIC BJEV

Focus: Electric vehicles (EV)
Parent company: BAIC Group
Founder: unknown
Founded: 2009
HQ: Beijing
Total funding: CN¥11.1B
Investors: Daimler (lead), China Cinda Asset Management, Zhongji Investment
Website: http://www.bjev.com.cn (Chinese only)

LeSee

Focus: Both autonomous driving and electric vehicles (EV)
Parent company: LeEco
Founder: Ding Lei
Founded: unknown (estimated 2016)
HQ: Beijing
Total funding: $1.1B
Investors: Lenovo, Shenzhen Capital Group, Macrolink Group, Yingda Capital, China Minsheng Trust, Hongzhao Capital, Legend Holdings
Website: unknown

NIO

Focus: Electric vehicles (EV)
Parent company: none
Founder: William Li
Founded: 2014
HQ: Shanghai
Total funding: $2.1B
Investors: Tencent Holdings (lead), Baillie Gifford, China Asset Management, CITIC Capital Holdings, Lone Pine Capital, TPG, Hillhouse Capital Group, Baidu (lead), Lenovo Capital and Incubator Group, Everbright-IDG Industrial Fund, IDG Capital Partners, GIC, Sequoia Capital (lead), MSA Capital, Joy Capital
Website: https://www.nio.io

WM Motor (Weltmeister)

Focus: Electric vehicles (EV)
Parent company: none
Founder: Freeman H. Shen, Napoleon Du
Founded: 2015
HQ: Shanghai
Total funding: $1.2B
Investors: Minmentals Development, China Structural Reform Fund, Sequoia Capital, Tencent Holdings (lead), Susquehanna International Group, Baidu Capital (lead), Amiba Capital, Baidu (lead), Zhejiang Geely Holding Group
Website: http://www.wm-motor.com (Chinese only)

Youxia Motors

Focus: Electric vehicles (EV)
Parent company: none
Founder: unknown
Founded: 2014
HQ: Shanghai
Total funding: CN¥6.2B
Investors: China Environmental Protection Industry, Huzhou Wuxing South Taihu Lake Construction Investment, Qianhai Wutong Mergers and Acquisitions Funds, China Fortune Ocean
Website: http://www.youxiamotors.com/english.php

Xiaopeng Motors

Focus: Both autonomous driving and electric vehicles (EV)
Parent company: none
Founder: He Xiaopeng, Heng Xia
Founded: 2014
HQ: Guangzhou
Total funding: $706.2M
Investors: GGV Capital, Alibaba Group (lead), IDG Capital Partners (lead), Morningside Venture Capital, Matrix Partners China (lead), YF Capital, Apoletto Managers, CICC, Foxconn Technology Group (lead), Everbright Zhongying Capital, Shunwei Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Alibaba (lead), GGV Capital (lead), Kinzon Capital, He Xiaopeng, UCAR (lead), GWC Innovator Fund
Website: https://www.xiaopeng.com (Chinese only)

SKIO Matrix

Focus: Electric vehicles (EV)
Parent company: none
Founder: unknown
Founded: 2013
HQ: Hangzhou
Total funding: CN¥1.9B
Investors: IDG Capital Partners, Meridian Capital China, Heaven-Sent Capital Management, Dingcang Capital, Ricebank, Ameba Capital
Website: http://www.skio.cn (Chinese only)

Leapmotor

Focus: Electric vehicles (EV)
Parent company: none
Founder: Fu Liquan, Zhu Jiangming
Founded: 2015
HQ: Hangzhou
Total funding: $62M
Investors: Sequoia Capital (lead)
Website: http://www.leapmotor.com (Chinese only)

TuSimple

Focus: Autonomous driving
Parent company: none
Founder: Jianan Hao, Mo Chen, Xiaodi Hou
Founded: 2015
HQ: Beijing
Total funding: $83.1M
Investors: Zhiping Capital, Composite Capital Management (lead), Fuhe Capital, SINA Corporation, Nvidia, Sina Weibo (lead), Sina (lead)
Website: http://tusimple.ai (Chinese only)

Momenta

Focus: Autonomous driving
Parent company: none
Founder: Gang Sun, Shaoqing Ren, Xudong Cao, Yan Xia
Founded: 2016
HQ: Beijing
Total funding: $51M
Investors: Sinovation Ventures, Daimler, NIO Capital (lead), Shunwei Capital, Unity Ventures, Blue Lake Capital AG, ZhenFund
Website: https://www.momenta.ai/en

Other companies worth mentioning in this segment: Ponycar, Shouqi Zhixing, TOGO, Niu.com, Chargerlink, Yibuyongche, Zongmu, Yuqing Electric, Besoon100, CalmCar Vehicle Vision, Jing-Jin Electric Technologies, Fastwheel, FlexLab, Evoke Motorcycles, AIWAYS, Zhaodianlv, Qeebike, DeepMotion, Anzhi Automotive Parts, Super SOCO, X-Charge, UISEE, Future Mobility

Photo credit: Red WEY SUV feature image was taken by Christopher Isak for TechAcute at IAA 2017 in Frankfurt, Germany.
Source: Crunchbase

Hi there and thanks for reading my article! I’m Chris the founder of TechAcute. I write about technology news and share experiences from my life in the enterprise world. Drop by on Twitter and say ‘hi’ sometime. 😉