Start-Ups in China Aim to Copy Tesla’s Success

Financial Times writers Charles Clover and Sherry Fei Ju reported yesterday that, “From Alibaba in e-commerce to Didi Chuxing in ride-hailing, Chinese start-ups have changed the landscape of the global tech industry. And now they are coming for cars.

“A handful of China-based fledgling companies have raised hundreds of millions of dollars in venture funding and launched electric vehicle prototypes in the past few months, all aiming to copy Tesla’s success in the US.”

The FT article explained that, “Like the US start-up, which has shaken up the car industry with its high tech EVs, Tesla’s counterparts in China say their advantage is that they see cars differently: as smart devices, loaded with software and services, rather than driving machines. But unlike Tesla, which has struggled to get into the world’s largest car market, they have one crucial advantage.

“‘If you want to do well globally today, you have to first be successful in China, and we’re already here,’ says Daniel Kirchert, a former BMW executive who co-founded Byton in Nanjing, which released a prototype five-seat sport utility vehicle at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. It plans to start producing in 2019.

“Experts say the arrival of electrification in the car industry may give new players a slice of the $620bn-a-year Chinese car industry. About 28m vehicles were sold in China last year, one-third of the world’s total.”

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