Chinese electric-vehicle (EV) maker WM Motor – which makes cars under the Weltmeister brand – has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong.
The company reported a net loss of 8.2 billion yuan ($1.2 billion) for the year 2021, compared with a loss of 5.1 billion yuan a year earlier. It reported sales of 4.7 billion yuan for the same period, compared with 2.7 billion yuan in 2020.
WM Motor’s IPO document does not reveal the size of the deal but a listing would move WM founder Freeman Shen closer to his dream of mass-producing affordable electric vehicles.
Shen’s team of experienced car industry executives helps the upstart to stand out, industry observers have said.
Cheaper Electric Cars
Unlike Chinese peers Nio and Tesla, which started with premium models to establish a brand before offering more accessible cars, WM sold cheaper electric vehicles from the beginning.
Its first model, a sport utility vehicle starting at 160,000 yuan, nearly $24,000 at current exchange rates, became a best-seller in its price segment after its launch in 2018.
The company attracted early backing from big technology names including Tencent and Baidu.
A market mania for EVs – especially Chinese ones – peaked more than a year ago after New York-listed Nio clocked a quadruple-digit increase in its valuation, prompting rivals to fill their coffers.
Xpeng and Li Auto both went public in 2020 but Nio’s shares are worth less than one-third of what they were at their peak in February 2021.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell
George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.