12 years ago, Chinese automaker Geely announced its arrival on the global stage with a giant “I Am Geely” sign over its stand at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Last week, Geely founder, Li Shufu effectively added an “I am Mercedes-Benz” banner to his collection.
Li Shufu, the chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group announced that he has acquired a 9.69% stake ($9 billion) in Daimler AG. The share purchase makes Li Shufu currently the single largest shareholder of the German automaker. Following the announcement, the Geely’s shares jumped as much as 8.8% Monday, giving it a market value of about $30 billion.
With revenue exceeding RMB 270 billion (about $43 billion) in 2017, the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group is China’s largest privately owned automotive manufacturing company and one of the world’s leading providers of electro-mobility. Major assets of the group include leading Chinese automaker, Geely (46 %), Volvo (100%), Lotus Cars (51%), Proton Cars (49.9%) and London Taxi (100%). Geely Group also owns a 100% stake on China’s largest car‐sharing provider, Cao Cao, operating a fleet of around 16.000 electric vehicles worldwide.
In a statement, Li said, “I am particularly pleased to accompany Daimler on its way to becoming one of the world’s leading electro-mobility providers.”
Daimler has been investing intensely in new technologies and is considered among the furthest ahead in the automotive industry in developing electric technology. The German firm plans to release 10 different fully electric vehicles by 2022.
With this latest partnership, Geely expects to benefit from Daimler’s technology and manufacturing expertise to respond to the challenge from new competitors such as Uber, Lyft and Alphabet, which are all working on their own electric and self-driving vehicles.
“The competitors that challenge the global car industry in the 21st century technologically are not part of the automotive industry today. But challenges create opportunities. No current car industry player might win this battle against the invaders from outside without friends. To achieve and assert technological leadership, one has to adapt a new way of thinking in terms of sharing and united strength. My investment in Daimler reflects this vision,” Li said.
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