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Video | China’s Tesla challengers: Will Nio live up to its hype?

Facing weak sales and dwindling funds, Nio is now fighting for survival.

A view of the front of the New York Stock Exchange leading up to the initial public offering of NIO Inc., a Chinese electric-vehicle company, New York, New York, USA, on 12 September 2018. The company, which has been compared to Tesla, is expected to raise around 1 billion USD / 860 million Euros. EPA/JUSTIN LANE

Despite its ambitions to take on Tesla, five-year-old electric vehicle (EV) startup Nio has encountered problems on its path to profitability, just as China’s auto market is slowing down and government subsidies have been slashed for new energy vehicles.

The firm, which has cultivated a devoted fan base, has Tencent, JD.com, Hillhouse Capital, and Temasek as its backers. It recently signed a preliminary agreement for USD 1.4 billion in funding from the government of Hefei, where the company will construct its new headquarters.

The New York-listed company, which trades under the ticker symbol NIO, warned in last December’s quarterly report that its cash balance was not adequate for continuous operations during 2020. Just two days before releasing its earnings report, at the company’s annual Nio Day, the firm announced its new model, the EC6, which is expected to compete against Tesla’s Model Y, according to Nio’s founder and CEO Li Bin.

The Chinese EV maker has also been incurring big losses—up to RMB 2.5 billion for the third quarter of 2019—and has recently reported an 11.5% delivery slump as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. As the company faces the real possibility of going bankrupt, will Nio make it through 2020?

To learn more, check out the first episode of China’s Tesla Challengers, a series that looks at the country’s leading EV companies.

Check out our other episodes:

Episode two: These Chinese EV makers are Tesla’s biggest problem

Episode three: Meet the world’s largest EV battery maker powering Tesla’s ambitions

Episode four: Will real estate giant Evergrande succeed in the EV industry?

To watch other videos by KrASIA, please visit our YouTube channel.