Meituan, the firm’s founder Wang Xing, and ByteDance all expected to invest in EV maker Lixiang

Tesla’s presence puts pressure on China’s EV industry.

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Meituan, the firm’s founder Wang Xing, and ByteDance all expected to invest in EV maker Lixiang

To fulfill its promise to ship its first hybrid electric vehicles to consumers early next year, Chinese electric vehicle maker Lixiang is seeking new funding. The firm rebranded in March and was previously known as CHJ Automobile.

Wang Xing, Meituan-Dianping’s co-founder and CEO, plans to lead this USD 500 million round, reported Chinese business media outlet Caijing’s Late Post on Monday.

According to Late Post, Wang indicated that he wants to invest USD 285 million in Lixiang out of his own funds,  but that he has not yet signed a term sheet with the EV maker.

Lixiang means “ideal” in English and is pronounced the same way as the name of the firm’s founder Li Xiang,

In addition to Wang Xing’s personal investment, an investment arm of Meituan will put another USD 15 million into the EV maker.

Meituan declined to comment when contacted by KrAsia on Monday.

ByteDance which is behind popular short video app TikTok, may also invest USD 30 million, according to Late Post. The company confirmed with KrAsia that it “has plans to invest but has not reached a final decision”, adding that its planned investment accounts for only a small part of the total amount.

Li Xiang, who set up CHJ Automobile in 2015, will also invest nearly USD 100 million in this round, said Late Post.  After the investment Lixiang will be valued at USD 2.9 billion.

In April, the company unveiled its first hybrid SUV–a vehicle which can seat six people– inside the manufacturing site due to a lack of funds for a more splashy event, Li wrote on his Sina Weibo account. He says there are already more than 10,000 orders for the car.

The SUV is named Lixiang One and priced at RMB 328,000 (nearly USD47,500). It costs the same as the cheapest version of Tesla’s China-made vehicles and is scheduled to be shipped to buyers in March next year.

Tesla opened pre-orders for its vehicles to be made in its Shanghai plant in late May and promised to deliver before November.