(Yicai Global) July 2 -- China's WM Motor Technology has opened its D-series funding to finance its electric motor industrial chain's future development to the tune of up to USD1 billion.
Shen Hui, the founder and chairman of the Shanghai-based new energy vehicle startup that produces the Weltmeister marque, said this yesterday.
The funding will also include the foreign capital of strategic and institutional investors to gain the company more global resources and woo more overseas partners, Shen added.
"WM is very likely to become the world's first profitable NEV startup," he predicted.
China remains the world's largest NEV market despite greater than expected and swifter subsidy cuts and rather flaccid sales. WM has delivered 13,000 cars since September last year, Shen noted.
Founded in 2015, the company netted CNY3 billion (USD437.9 million) in its C-series funding, led by Beijing-based tech titan Baidu. It has a car assembly plant in China and is working with automotive chip giants such as Qualcomm and Infineon. It rolled out its first production vehicle -- the EX5 -- in May last year at the Beijing Auto Show, and began deliveries in September, public information shows.
WM will double its yearly output at the plant, which is in the port city of Wenzhou in eastern Zhejiang province, to 200,000 units, Shen said, the South China Morning Post reported in April last year. The facility uses 'smart manufacturing' technology by German industrial hardware and software colossus Siemens, per the report.
WM will also release a fifth-generation wireless technology embedded car by late next year, Shen said, adding that the company has an artificial intelligence lab in Germany.
The Levels 3 and 4 -- the highest degrees of autonomy short of the Level 5 fully driverless technology -- autopilot cars it jointly developed with Baidu have also started testing in China.
The company manufactures motor vehicles, NEVs, shared cars and other products. WM also plies the auto technology development, import-export and other businesses.
The name WM comes from the German word 'Weltmeister,' which means 'world champion.' Its Chinese name is Weima, or 'mighty horse.'
Editor: Zhang Yushuo, Ben Armour