China’s XPENG Motors Monday kicked off a RMB2.2 billion Series B round of funding backed by Alibaba Group, Foxconn and IDG Capital.
Alibaba was a key backer of the Guangzhou-based electric-car company’s round A+ financing and remains a major investor in this Series B round for XPENG, which is taking on other Chinese companies and Tesla in the electric-car and autonomous-driving sectors.
“Smart transportation has great potential to become one of the fastest-growing sectors, making huge impact on people’s daily lives,” said Joe Tsai, Alibaba executive vice chairman at XPENG’s Hong Kong press conference.
“XPENG Motors combines the advantages of the internet, artificial intelligence and traditional manufacturing. Alibaba is very excited to work together with XPENG Motors to accelerate the integration and innovation across sectors, leading to more-rapid development in smart transportation.”
All told, with its full Series A round and this Series B round, XPENG said it will have raised over RMB5 billion via capital markets. Co-investors in the Series B round are Yunfeng Capital and China International Capital Corp. Ltd. Other series A+ investors again backing the Series B round are GGV Capital, Morningside Venture Capital and Matrix Partners. Individual investors include Yuri Milner, known for his backing of science and technology startups.
“Alibaba is the world’s leading science and technology company, Foxconn is the world’s benchmark company for high-tech manufacturing, and IDG Capital is the world’s top investment entity. It is, thus, an important milestone for XPENG Motors that Alibaba, Foxconn and IDG Capital are the joint lead investors in this round of fundraising,” said XPENG Motors Chairman He Xiaopeng.
XPENG earlier this month unveiled its G3 model at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, saying it would be available to the public this spring, with configurations and price made available at that time. It’s positioning the G3 SUV as the vehicle of choice for those with a “geek lifestyle.”
The G3 features an array of sensors – cameras and radar – making it one of the smartest self-driving vehicles among Chinese brands. XPENG was the first company to receive China Compulsory Certification from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in July 2017. It released its first production car in October 2017. And on Dec. 3, Chairman He Xiaopeng drove the first plated Xpeng car on public roads in Beijing.
He has previous ties to Alibaba. He co-founded Chinese mobile web browser company UCWeb and was president of Alibaba’s mobile business group. He founded XPENG in 2014.
Apart from its investment in XPENG, Alibaba has recently done tie-ups with other auto companies, including a deal with Ford Motor to redefine the driving experience and a connected-car deal with Germany’s BMW.