Foreign Media Watching Chinas Electric Vehicle Fever: Everyone wants to be the next Musk

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 Foreign Media Watching Chinas Electric Vehicle Fever: Everyone wants to be the next Musk


Picture: Foundation Laying Ceremony of Tesla Shanghai Super Factory

Netease Technologies News January 17, according to foreign media reports, Teslas success has inspired a large number of Chinese entrepreneurs. They have gone to Silicon Valley to set up companies to recruit talent, develop and manufacture electric cars for domestic consumers, hoping to become the second Musk.

Tesla now comes to the Chinese market to do business, and Chinese companies also go to Teslas backyard to dig people.

Elon Musk, Teslas chief executive, attended the founding ceremony of Shanghais super factory last week, marking that Tesla will become Chinas first fully owned factory by foreign automakers. At the same time, there are now more than a dozen electric car manufacturers with Chinese investors in Silicon Valley, where Tesla headquarters is located, setting up offices or recruiting talent. Although most of them havent even sold a car, these well-funded start-ups are buying factories, testing prototypes on public roads and setting up offices in the San Francisco Bay Area. Finding a former Tesla executive has become the highest reward.

Everyone wants to be the next Elon Musk of China - Elon Musk of China, said Martin Eberhard, co-founder of Tesla. After leaving Tesla, Eberhard founded another company, which was subsequently acquired by SFMotors, a Chinese electric car manufacturer, who also served on the companys board of directors.

Picture: Aberhard drives his Tesla sports car

Faraday Future is undoubtedly the company that recruits the most former Tesla employees. Founded by Jia Yueting, the startup began manufacturing cars last year at a renovated tire factory in Hanford, California. Search results on LinkedIn show that more than 70 employees in Faradays future have listed Tesla as their past work experience, and Faradays future often boasts of hiring top talent such as Jeff Risher, former head of Teslas intellectual property and litigation department.

Tencent-backed startup Baiteng recently raised $500 million. Baiton hired Tom Wessner, a former Tesla executive, as senior vice president of global supply chains. It is reported that Batten has an office in Santa Clara, California, and a new artificial intelligence laboratory in Los Angeles, which employs engineers for research and development.

The emerging automaker regularly invites domestic dignitaries to visit its Silicon Valley office.

Talents are here, said Andrew Hussey, a Baiton spokesman. The company plans to launch its first mass-produced vehicle in China this year, and plans to sell an electric SUV in the U.S. market starting next year.

According to Pitchbook, a global data research institute in Silicon Valley, venture capital investments in Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers almost doubled last year to $6.4 billion. Many companies looking to catch up with Tesla have begun to seek alliances with Musks competitors.

Eberhard is a typical representative of Chinas electric vehicle start-ups employing celebrities. SFMotors, a former employer and Chinese start-up, has all the logos of Silicon Valley in its office in Santa Clara: a table tennis table, a lunch and a gym.

Picture: Faradays future Jia Yueting and the companys FF91 electric car.

When Eberhard was ousted from Tesla by Musk in 2007 and sold InEVit, another startup, to SFMotors in 2017, he did not realize that he was recruiting a Chinese billionaire. The parent company of SFMotors is Chongqing Well-off Industry Group Co., Ltd., a Chinese-based automobile and parts manufacturer. SFMotors is run by the son of Zhang Xinghai, chairman of the group.

If you can sell a car with enough Western elements in the Chinese market, you can make at least 30% profit. Eberhard said. He drove a Tesla to Bucks for lunch. How can we make cars show Western elements? Start a company in Silicon Valley and hire Westerners.

Since the growth of Musks company, it has become easier and easier to dig people from Tesla. Musk tweeted in October that the entire Tesla team had 45,000 people, and often regularly laid off executives and other employees. Beijing-based Qingyun Venture Capital has provided some support to Lucid Motors, a start-up that also hired Peter Rawlinson, Teslas former vice president of automotive engineering, as its chief technology officer. In addition, Lucid Motors moved to a large facility opposite the Tesla plant and raised $1 billion from Saudi Arabias public investment fund.

Teslas press offices in China and North America did not respond to requests for comment.

Picture: SFMotors is an SF7 electric car in the Santa Clara exhibition hall, California.

Xiaopeng Automobile, a Guangzhou-based electric car maker, received more than $900 million in investment from Alibaba Group, Foxconn Technology Group and IDG Capital last year. He Xiaopeng, chairman of Tesla, has four former Tesla employees, including Gu Junli, a machine learning expert.

Shanghai-based Weilai doubled the size of its San Jose office after its U.S. listing last year. The company said it had delivered 11,000 cars to customers, with a market value of about $7 billion. The company showed more than 100 employees with Tesla experience on the recruitment platform LinkedIn. The company declined to comment on any links between employees and Tesla.

Nannan Kou, head of China research at BloombergNEF, said that most Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers are technology companies. Their advantage is not their experience in manufacturing cars, but their understanding of Chinese consumer behavior.

Their competitive advantage is in the Chinese market. For them, the U.S. market is a plus, says Nannan Kou.

However, this home advantage may be impacted in the coming years. Musk said Teslas Shanghai plant is expected to start production of Model 3 by the end of the year. Volkswagen is also working with a local partner to build a factory to produce electric vehicles.

Picture: Weilai Electric Sports Vehicle EP9 in Beijing Exhibition Hall

The efficiency of Silicon Valley offices and former Tesla employees is much less than before, says Nannan Kou. Popular models, cool features, effective production capacity and stable sales revenue are the key at present.

Whether Chinas Musk can find a way to market in the United States is another open question. In addition, Chinese electric car manufacturers must resist foreign carmakers digging in their backyards. At the ground-breaking ceremony in Tesla Shanghai, Musk said a Chinese engineer hired that day might eventually become the companys chief executive.

Picture: Musk at the founding ceremony of Tesla Shanghai Super Factory.

Nevertheless, Eberhard said that Chinas electric car start-ups can now stick to their strategy and introduce a little Tesla elements. The Chinese market is a big enough place, with enough cash, they can make a lot of bets. (Han Bing)

Source: Responsible Editor of Netease Science and Technology Report: Wang Fengzhi_NT2541