IN EARLY MAY, WILLIAM LI STRIDES ONTO A SHANGHAI STAGE IN A NAVY T-SHIRT EMBLAZONED WITH TWO WORDS: NORWAY 2021.
The founder of Nio greets his new team sitting in Oslo at the virtual event before launching into details about the Chinese electric car maker’s first move overseas.
The Nordic country was chosen because it is the first country in the world where EVs have overtaken sales of traditionally powered vehicles—nearly 55% of all car sales in 2020, according to the Norwegian Road Federation. It will also serve as Nio’s springboard to Europe, which briefly passed China last year as the world’s largest EV market after governments doled out subsidies to spur purchases during the pandemic. Starting in 2022, Nio will enter five more European countries, which Li declines to name.
While success at cracking a new market far from home is hardly assured, Li is confident about his company’s roadmap for growth. “China is already the most competitive EV market in the world,” the 46-year-old said at a press conference earlier that day. “If I can do it in China, there is no reason I can’t do it elsewhere.”
Li, dubbed the Elon Musk of China, has already made his mark at home. In seven years, his company has gone from startup to become the seventh largest in China’s EV sector by deliveries. He led the carmaker back from the verge of bankruptcy in late 2019, when executive departures, vehicle recalls and a rollback of government subsidies pummeled investor confidence in the company.
Fast forward to today: Nio delivered 20,060 vehicles in the first quarter, a fivefold jump from a year earlier when demand was suppressed by the pandemic. Sales grew over 490% over the same period to reach 7.4 billion yuan and its net loss narrowed to 451 million yuan.
Full-year deliveries are forecast to reach 95,000 vehicles after factoring in the impact from the global chips shortage, according to New York based analyst Edison Yu at Deutsche Bank. That worsening problem has taken a toll on manufacturers across industries. Auto brands worldwide have been forced to slash production, including Nio, which needs semiconductors for features such as mapping and in-car entertainment.
Over the past year, shares in the New York listed firm once surged almost 20-fold as Nio increased deliveries at a record pace, only to fall back recently amid a broader EV selloff triggered by the chip shortage. Still, Li’s 11% Nio stake gives him a sizable fortune of $5.7 billion.
While China is currently the world’s largest EV market—sales there are expected to grow 50% to 1.9 million vehicles this year, according to market research firm Canalys—Li takes a world view. In an interview on the sidelines of the Shanghai Auto Show in April, he outlined for the first time his global ambitions.
“Electric vehicles still account for a very low share of the entire auto market and there is a huge room for growth worldwide,” he says. (EVs accounted for fewer than 5% of all cars sold last year, according to the International Energy Agency.) “Over the long term, probably in the next decade or so, more than half of Nio’s deliveries should come from abroad,” he says.
In keeping with the innovation in his vehicles, Li is taking a novel approach to sell cars in Norway. Dispensing with local dealers, the billionaire is taking things into his own hands. Nio House, the company’s concept showroom that is designed with a library and coffee shop for browsing customers, will open in September on Oslo’s main shopping street Karl Johans Gate.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Shout Out for Japan
Digital Money Bags
DANA, one of the country's largest e-wallet platforms, is looking to expand its customer base throughout the archipelago.
Bukalapak’s CEO Rachmat Kaimuddin must battle big rivals and the pandemic for Indonesia’s e-commerce market—with help from a historic IPO.
Already a leading healthy consumer brand in Indonesia, Lemonilo continues to diversify its product range into a healthy lifestyle ecosystem.
Dekoruma Raises $15 Million of Series C1
Home and living platform, Dekoruma has completed a $15 million funding round recently, led by Nexter Ventures by SCG Cement-Building Materials and KTB Network. Existing investors, GDN, OCBC NISP Ventura and Fundamental were also joined the round.
ARSJAD RASJID NAVIGATES INDIKA ENERGY THROUGH CHALLENGING TIMES. NOW HE POSES FOR A NEW ROLE AT KADIN.
CHARTING NEW WATERS
PONTIAC LAND’S EVAN KWEE IS PUSHING PAST THE PANDEMIC WITH A NEW RESORT DEVELOPMENT IN THE MALDIVES, AS PART OF THE KWEE FAMILY’S EXPANSION OUT OF SINGAPORE AND INTO THE GLOBAL HIGH-END HOSPITALITY MARKET.
Human Transformation: Beyond Digital Adoption
Digital transformation coupled with the development of increasingly advanced technology - artificial intelligence, big data, 3D printing, blockchain, augmented reality, and so on – has seen digitalization slowly, but surely, impact almost all areas of our lives, especially over the last five years.
Gold Bullion: To Have and To Hold
The Nappy Winner
With promising growth ahead, Uni-Charm Indonesia prepares to be at the forefront of disposable hygiene products
The Many Saints of Newark turns back the clock to show how Tony Soprano came of age
CHINA SETS UP PLATFORM TO POLICE GAMING FIRM VIOLATIONS
Chinese regulators have set up a platform that allows the public to report on gaming companies they believe are violating restrictions on online game times for children.
From crying in Justin Bieber’s arms while wearing a bald cap to deftly handling Taco Bell etiquette, Dave’s eye-rolling secret weapon is suddenly everywhere all at once.
DEATH in the STONE FOREST
Why did 21 runners die competing in an ultramarathon in China? Turns out, a freak weather event wasn’t the only problem.
HELLCAT'S HIGH-POWER HEAVEN
Cashing in another of its lives, Dodge’s smash hit returns for a red-eyed victory lap.
YEAR OF THE E-TRUCK
E-PICKUPS OFFER A SPARK OF INNOVATION FOR TRUCK LOVERS.
AFTER AN 11-YEAR SELF-EXILE, LIZ PHAIR IS BACK IN TOP FORM — WITH SOME UNCOMMON TUNINGS
Keep Current with Facts About Electric Cars
Three's the charm
After the birth of her third daughter, Lindsay Raynne vowed to get healthy.
Can Miami tackle their tackle issues?
The Miami Dolphins currently have a 2020 first-round pick, a 2021 second-round pick, a 2019 second-round pick, and a player who has started 56 games for them over the last four seasons to choose from at right and left tackle.