China's Tesla-killer ready to go public in New York

A Nio concept car on display during the Beijing Auto Show in April

Chinese electric vehicle start-up NIO on Monday filed for a $1.8 billion initial public offering of its American depositary shares, the biggest USA listing by a Chinese automaker. According to previous reports, NIO had plans to file for a US-based listing in September, with the company refusing to comment at that time. According to Frost & Sullivan, battery-powered electric vehicle sales are expected to increase by over 40% through 2022.

Will Tesla face the same fate in China as Uber and Amazon in local rivals' home turf?

Shanghai-based Nio launched sales of its first mass production auto ES8 electric sport utility vehicle late previous year. As of July 31, customers had put down deposits on 17,000 of the vehicles. The vehicle comes with a price tag of $65,000, or about half the current price of the most basic version of Tesla's Model X SUV in China.

Founded in 2014, NIO counts Tencent as its biggest institutional investor, with a 15.2 per cent stake, followed by Hillhouse Capital's 7.5 per cent.

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Li Bin, founder and CEO of NIO Automobile, said in an open letter in the foreword of the prospectus that 50 million shares, i.e. one-third of the total shares, will be transferred to "user trust fund".

As Elon Musk's plan to take Tesla private continues to dominate the news, Chinese electric-car startup Nio is planning to go public. Musk announced on his Twitter account last week that he will take Tesla private so that the carmaker can "operate at its best, free from as much distraction and short-term thinking as possible".

The four-year-old start-up is among a rising wave of "Tesla challengers", which include fledgling carmakers such as Byton, WM Motor and Xpeng. Additionally, changes to government policies that help the sales of electric and Chinese-made cars could also cause problems, as could the U.S.

FILE PHOTO - The logo of electric vehicle startup NIO is seen at a new NIO House "brand-experience" store, in Beijing, China November 25, 2017. "Many of our current and potential competitors, particularly global competitors, have significantly greater financial, technical, manufacturing, marketing and other resources than we do". The next model will be a small SUV called the ES6. The new auto will be officially delivered in the first half of next year.

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