Chinese EV Startup WM Motor Scores $1.8 Billion Line Of Credit

Chinese electric-vehicle startup WM Motor Technology Co. has secured a 11.5 billion yuan ($1.8 billion) line of credit from local banks as it inches closer to a planned public listing on Shanghai’s Star board.

 The funding includes a first tranche of 3.5 billion yuan and comes from 11 lenders, led by Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Co., according to a statement from the Shanghai-based automaker Tuesday. Other banks include Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., Bank of China Ltd. and China Construction Bank Corp.

 Electric-car makers from Li Auto Inc. to Nio Inc. have been raising billions of dollars as investors flock to all things EV. Electric, autonomous or connected car-related companies raised more than $12 billion through so-called blank check firms or initial public offerings last year, according to BloombergNEF.

 WM Motor, which was founded in 2015, plans to use the funds to strengthen investment in product innovation, technology development, intelligent manufacturing, channel expansion and digital marketing, it said.

 The startup has delivered more than 41,000 of its EX5 electric SUVs so far, it said in January.

 China’s car sales jumped 26% last month from a year earlier, thanks to continued robust demand for EVs in the world’s biggest auto market. Retail sales of new energy vehicles, including electric autos, soared 281% to 158,000 units.

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