Chinese Web-Video Tycoon Raises $1.08 Billion for Electric Car

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Jia Yueting

Photographer: Stoyan VassevTASS via Getty Images
  • LeEco latest to raise funds as electric-car shake-up nears
  • Investors include Legend Holdings and China Minsheng Trust

China’s Le Holdings Co. has raised $1.08 billion to develop its electric sports car that has drawn comparisons to the Batmobile, the latest in a series of alternative energy vehicle investments even as the industry is set for a Chinese government shake-up.

The Beijing-based company, also known as LeEco, has attracted a group of Chinese investors for the project’s initial funding, including Legend Holdings Corp., Yingda Capital Management Co. and China Minsheng Trust, it said in a statement Tuesday.

LeEco joins a bevy of startups to have announced fundraising completions as the industry hangs on the verge of a major shake-out. The government is imposing stricter technology standards and considering limiting the number of manufacturers to 10. WM Motor, founded by Freeman Shen, former Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. top executive, said last month it has raised $1 billion to prepare it to challenge Tesla Motors Inc.

LeEco’s billionaire founder Jia Yueting, who built his wealth from video platform Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corp., said in April financing had been the weakest link for the electric-car project.

NextEV Inc., another Chinese electric-car startup with ambitions of unseating Tesla, last year raised funds from investors including Sequoia Capital and Joy Capital as part of plans to develop affordable, connected green cars.

— With assistance by Tian Ying

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