Xpeng Motors, a Chinese electric automaker backed by Alibaba, is heading to the New York Stock Exchange, where it hopes to raise up to $1.1 billion — even as relations between Beijing and Washington continue to worsen.
The company has applied for an initial public offering and plans to sell 85 million American Depositary Shares, with each representing two ordinary shares in Xpeng.
It aims to price its stock between $11 and $13 per share, according to a regulatory filing on Friday. At the top end of that range, the company would be valued at roughly $9.2 billion.
The IPO is notable considering how much scrutiny Chinese firms that trade in the United States are facing from regulators there. Earlier this month, for example, an advisory council run by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin recommended that regulators require much greater access to the accounts of Chinese firms wishing to join US stock exchanges.
A recent scandal at Luckin Coffee, another Chinese upstart that admitted to fabricating some of its sales numbers, has also spooked investors. The company was ultimately delisted from the Nasdaq, and its chairman and CEO were both fired.
But Xpeng still believes the United States is best for its IPO because it is by far the deepest capital market in the world, according to a person familiar with the matter. The startup also considers itself more of a tech company than an auto company, and believes stateside investors may have a better understanding of its product and technologies than investors elsewhere, the person said.
Xpeng, which is based in Guangzhou, was founded in 2015 and has offices in both China and Silicon Valley.
It’s not the only Chinese electric automaker courting investors in the United States. One competitor, Li Auto, went public on the Nasdaq last month. And shares of Nio (NIO), another well-known contender, have spiked 250% in New York so far this year, according to data from Refinitiv.
Xpeng is part of a crowded field of electric vehicle makers in China, the world’s largest auto market. The American carmaker Tesla (TSLA) recently upped its game in the country by slashing prices for consumers and producing cars at its Shanghai Gigafactory.
Xpeng sells two electric vehicle models: the G3 SUV, which was launched in 2018, and the P7 sedan, which debuted earlier this year. The company said in its latest filing that it had delivered almost 19,000 units and about 2,000 units of the G3 and P7 respectively, as of the end of July.
It also plans to add a new sedan to its lineup sometime next year.
Xpeng is known for its fundraising prowess and is backed by a roster of heavyweight investors, including Alibaba (BABA), Xiaomi, Sequoia Capital and Hillhouse Capital. Earlier this month, the automaker disclosed that it had raised $900 million in a new funding round, less than a year after it nabbed another $400 million from investors.
The company plans to start trading under the ticker symbol “XPEV.” It expects to make its market debut Thursday, according to a person familiar with the matter.