A Chinese Auto Empire Is Making Its Way to the United States

Will Geely be a household name in the U.S. soon?

July 10, 2023

Eric Li, a Chinese car tycoon, could shake up the American auto industry,
An article from the Wall Street Journal notes  “Li Shufu, as he is known in China, is most closely associated with two brands: Geely and Volvo Car. The first is the name of both his private holding company and a publicly listed Chinese automaker he founded in the late 1990s. The second, which Li bought from Ford  in 2010, took him global and is his single most valuable asset.”

He has stakes in Mercedes-Benz and Aston Martin Lagonda and electric vehicle startups such as Polestar, Zeekr and Lotus Technology.

As the report continues, “more of the companies he has held privately have started to seek public capital lately—the 2021 minority initial public offering of Volvo Car and the last year’s merger of Polestar with a U.S. special-purpose acquisition company. In January, Lotus Technology agreed to go public via another SPAC deal at a $5.4 billion valuation. In February, Zeekr, which was only founded in 2021 but has grown rapidly in China, raised $750 million at a $13 billion valuation ahead of a potential U.S. IPO.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Unlike Chinese EV giant BYD, which has ambitious plans in Europe but says the U.S. is off limits for now, Geely’s other premium brands want a piece of the American market too. Polestar sold almost 10,000 Chinese-made cars in the U.S. last year, despite a 27.5% import duty. Starting next year, Polestars will be produced at Volvo’s Charleston factory to avoid the tariff. Lotus Tech and Zeekr also want to launch Chinese-built vehicles stateside. They too might find ways within the group to localize assembly.”

“American car buyers and investors will hear a lot more about Geely in the coming years,” the article concludes.