Back In Business: Lotus Resumes Building Cars, Won’t Be Sold To Chinese Buyer

The most prolific buyer is Li, who spent almost $13 billion on stakes in Daimler and truckmaker Volvo. Tencent Holdings Ltd., Asia’s biggest internet company, paid about $1.8 billion for 5 percent of Tesla.

As software and electronics become just as critical to a car as the engine, China is ensuring it doesn’t lag behind in that market, either. Baidu, owner of the nation’s biggest search engine, announced a $1.5 billion Apollo Fund to invest in 100 autonomous-driving projects during the next three years.

“We have secured a chance to compete in the U.S. market of self-driving cars through those partnerships,” Li Zhengyu, a vice president overseeing Baidu’s intelligent-driving unit, told Bloomberg News. “Everyone has a good chance to win if it has good development plans.”

“I want the whole world to hear the cacophony generated by...made-in-China cars”

Baidu and Tencent are among the Chinese corporations racing Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, Uber Technologies Inc. and the major automakers to develop autonomous driving, with an aim for mass adoption by 2021.

The government’s aspiration to deploy 30 million autonomous vehicles within a decade is seeding a fledgling chip industry, with startups like Horizon Robotics Inc. emerging to build the brains behind those wheels.

Then there’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd., the maker of electric-vehicle batteries that’s planning a $1.3 billion factory with enough capacity to surpass the output of Tesla and dwarf the suppliers for GM, Nissan and Audi.

The Ningde-based company plans to raise 13.1 billion yuan as soon as this year by selling a 10 percent stake, at a valuation of about $20 billion. The bulk of the new funds would pay for a manufacturing plant that would make CATL the world’s biggest maker of Lithium-ion batteries.

CATL already supplies Volkswagen and owns 22 percent of Finland’s Valmet Automotive Oy, a contract manufacturer for Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz.

To juice those batteries, Chinese companies are leading the way in securing necessary raw materials like cobalt and lithium. Chinese companies make about 60 percent of the world’s refined cobalt, according to trading firm Darton Commodities Ltd.

China Molybdenum Co. is the world’s second-biggest cobalt miner after Glencore Plc. The company, with a market value of more than $24 billion, became a major force in battery metal in 2016 after buying control of the cobalt-rich Tenke Fungurume mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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