Chinese automaker Geely’s premium electric vehicle brand Zeekr has confidentially filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in the US, aiming to raise more than $1 billion.
The EV-maker lodged its filings with US regulators last week and is planning to go public in New York as early as the second quarter of 2023, Reuters reported, citing sources.
Zeekr also considered Hong Kong as its listing venue but picked New York in the hope of achieving a higher valuation.
If successful, the IPO would be the first major US float of a Chinese firm since Beijing tightened its grip over Chinese companies’ overseas share sales in July last year. The shift was triggered by a cybersecurity probe into ride-hailing giant Didi Global on the heels of its US stock market debut.
A Zeekr listing could open the way for more Chinese share sales in the United States, considered to be the world’s deepest pool of capital and to have a more predictable listing pace.
Only five Chinese companies have completed US IPOs this year, raising a combined $162.5 million. That’s a far cry from the $12.8 billion raised last year.
$10 billion valuation
Zeekr is seeking a valuation of more than $10 billion through its US IPO. That compares with a valuation of about $9 billion in its maiden external fundraising last year.
The plans come as the brand, which competes with Tesla Inc and Chinese peer Nio Inc, sets its sights on marketing its 001 crossover – its first and only model – in Europe next year. In doing so, it joins a growing list of Chinese automakers looking to launch or expand sales of EVs in the region.
Geely launched Zeekr in April 2021 to tap into increasing Chinese demand for premium EVs.
In August last year, the carmaker raised $500 million in its first external funding from investors that included Intel Capital, battery maker CATL and online video firm Bilibili Inc.
It sold just over 60,600 cars in the first nine months of 2022 which compares with roughly 285,900 Model Y crossovers for Tesla in China in the same period, according to the China Passenger Car Association.
- Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena