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Hybrid EV maker Li Auto soars nearly 50% on Nasdaq debut after raising USD 1.1 billion in IPO

Li Auto is the second China-based EV maker to go public in the US, following Nio.

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Beijing-based electric SUV maker Li Auto (NASDAQ: LI), also known as Lixiang in China, closed at USD 16.46 on Thursday, its first trading day on Nasdaq, up 43% above its initial public offering price of USD 11.5.

The company, which was founded in 2015 by Li Xiang, raised USD 1.1 billion after offering 95,000,000 American Depositary Shares, according to the prospectus, dated July 29.

Li Auto produces and sells electric vehicles that can leverage gasoline to extend range when batteries run out of power. This differentiates Li Auto from most EV makers in China, such as Nio, which sells fully electric vehicles.

“[Li] Xiang has a deep understanding of the preferences and pain points of car owners and drivers in China, ” said Mingming Huang, founder & CEO of Future Capital, Li Auto’s angel investor, in an interview with KrASIA. “Li Auto is the first in China to successfully commercialize extended-range electric vehicles (EREVs), solving the challenges of inadequate charging infrastructure and battery technology constraints.”

In addition, China’s largest food delivery company Meituan-Dianping (HKG: 3690), as well its founder Wang Xing, and TikTok owner ByteDance, are all among Li Auto’s investors.

The company has delivered over 10,400 Li Ones by June 30 since this six-seater electric SUV was launched in November 2019, making it one of only a few EV makers based in China that have delivered final products to end consumers, along with Baidu-backed WM Motor and Alibaba-backed Xpeng Motors, while many others have failed.

Byton, a Nanjing-headquartered EV maker, once a promising startup best known for the long-awaited M-Byte featuring a 48-inch video screen spanning the whole dashboard, has suspended operations for six months in the Chinese mainland as of July 1 and has furloughed all employees in the region.

Tianjin-based EV maker Bordin is to suspend operation between August 1 and October 31, after which dissolution and liquidation will begin , reported The Beijing News.

However, Li Auto is still lagging behind Nio in terms of deliveries although the two are very close in market capitalization.

Nio, which was the first China-based EV maker to go public in the United States, delivered 10,331 vehicles in the second quarter of this year.

The pure EV maker’s market cap stood at USD 14.45 billion on Thursday, when Li Auto hit USD 13.92 billion after the first day surge.