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Autonomous Vehicles Startups

Chinese Electric Vehicle Startup Raising Money After CEO Joins Competitor

Byton, a high-flying Chinese electric vehicle startup, is close to raising $500 million in fresh capital from backers led by state-owned carmaker FAW Group, according to Bloomberg.

If successful, the funding could value Byton at $2.5 billion, emblematic of the heady investor interest in China’s burgeoning electric car market, which accounts for half of all global EV sales, according to this report.

But there’s a wrinkle. Byton’s CEO, who oversaw development of BMW’s plug-in hybrid sports car, has left the company to join a rival. In April, Carsten Breitfeld became the CEO of Iconiq Motors, another venture capital-backed electric vehicle startup based in China.

China’s carmakers have been hit by sharp slowdown in auto purchases. Electric vehicles, supported by government policies, had been a bright spot in the market. But that’s been changing as subsidies have been reduced.

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