Tech

Chinese electric car start-up Hycan claims funding of more than $300 million is on the way

Hycan CEO Yang Ying speaks with CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng during the 2021 East Tech West conference in the Nansha district of Guangzhou, China.

GUANGZHOU, China — Chinese electric car start-up Hycan hasn’t delivered many vehicles yet, but it claims it’s on the verge of a large fundraise as investors pour more money into a hot sector.

The news of more capital looking at other players in China’s electric car market comes as more established start-ups like Nio and Xpeng have already delivered more than 10,000 cars each in November alone. Unofficial figures — which Hycan declined to confirm – indicate sales of a few hundred vehicles during the first ten months of this year.

“In January, we raised more than 2 billion yuan ($312.5 million), which is a recognition from our big investors. Next, the new round of financing overall will not be less than this figure,” Yang Ying, CEO of Hycan, said in Mandarin on Dec. 1 at CNBC’s annual East Tech West conference in the Nansha district of Guangzhou, China.

Yang did not specify when the funding round would close. He claimed about 20 funds and investment institutions around the world were interested in Hycan.

The start-up was founded in 2018 under the name GAC-Nio, referring to its investors: state-owned automaker GAC and U.S.-listed electric carmaker Nio.

GAC and a firm called Pearl River Investment invested 2.4 billion yuan into the start-up in January, according to the electric car company. That month, Yang became CEO after holding different managerial roles at GAC. The start-up completed a rebrand under the name Hycan in May.

The company launched its second model in October, an electric SUV called the Z03 with a price range of 132,800 yuan to 168,800 yuan. That’s a lower price range than models from Nio and Tesla.

Yang said Hycan has received more than 30,000 orders. He expects the company’s total deliveries for this year to be at least 10 times what they were last year. It was not clear how many vehicles Hycan delivered in 2020, when the only model it had on the market was the 007.

Hycan has focused its strategy on attracting young consumers, primarily born after 1995. The start-up has played up its partnership with Chinese e-sports team EDG, which beat a South Korean team in a widely followed championship in November.

Yang said the company plans to partner with two or three international fashion brands next year, although he said he could not yet disclose their names.

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