Recently, according to media reports, Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) is in talks with Gaohe's parent company, Chinese Express, to invest at least $250 million. In addition, according to people familiar with the matter, Chinese Express hopes to raise up to $1 billion from private investors to speed up development. If an investment agreement is reached this time, PIF may buy a stake in Chinese Express at a valuation of $3 billion. At present, the details of the terms and conditions of the two sides are still being finalized, no final decision has been made, and relevant matters will be reached as early as this year.
In fact, there may have been signs of cooperation between Chinese Express and Saudi Arabia. At this year's Shanghai auto show, the Chinese American Express brand Gaohe announced its overseas strategy and said it would "start with Europe and the Middle East". Ding Lei, founder of Gaohe Motor, also said: "since its inception, Gaohe has been determined to build a global high-end brand from China. So while we are deeply exploring the Chinese market, we will also look at the world. In 2023, we will launch a global brand strategy and expand overseas markets, and the European and Middle Eastern markets will be our first wave." The strategy is also seen by the industry as high-tech cars officially entering the Middle East market.
On June 11 this year, the Saudi Ministry of Investment and Chinese Express signed an agreement worth 21 billion Saudi riyals (US $5.6 billion, about 40.1 billion yuan) to set up a joint venture engaged in automobile research and development, manufacturing and sales.
Many people may not be familiar with Chinese American Express, but when it comes to high-tech cars, people should have some impression. Founded in 2017, Chinese Express is an innovative travel technology company focused on the future intelligent transportation industry. The founder is Ding Lei, a former vice president of SAIC, general manager of Shanghai General Motors Co., Ltd., party committee secretary / general manager of Shanghai Zhangjiang (Group) Co., Ltd., and deputy director of Shanghai Pudong New area. Jia Yueting invited him to join Letv as co-founder of Letv Motor and vice chairman of Letv Motor Worldwide in September 2015. Ding Lei left Letv in March 2017, and Ding Lei established Chinese Express in July of the same year.
In July 2019, Chinese American Express launched its luxury smart car brand Gaohe, then acquired the first factory in Yancheng of Dongfeng Yueda Kia, and successively launched three models of Gaohe HiPhi X, HiPhi Z and HiPhi Y, with a price range of 339000-800000 yuan. Although the three models have been launched for a period of time, due to the high pricing of Gaohe electric vehicles, low popularity and other reasons, the sense of market presence of he Automobile is not strong. Relevant data show that Gaohe sold 4520 vehicles in 2022 and 5559 in the first three quarters of 2023.
Judging from the domestic sales performance of Gaohe, going out to sea to find a way out is also one of the ways to survive. As we all know, car building requires a lot of capital investment, in the context of modest sales, loss is also normal. If there is a chance to gain a place in overseas markets, it can also reduce some losses for high-tech cars. However, the prospects for the development of Gaohe's sea layout may also face difficulties. After all, in terms of price, Gaohe cars are priced higher, and it may be difficult to open the market at once in overseas markets.
For its part, Saudi Arabia has also been trying to diversify its economy in recent years and actively shift away from its dependence on oil. In addition, in the context of the global transformation of new energy vehicles, countries in the Middle East are also actively promoting the development of electric vehicles. Saudi Arabia has clearly planned to reach 30% of electric vehicles in the capital Riyadh by 2030. With this background, it is not difficult to understand why Saudi public investment funds have invested in the new energy car industry many times before. In addition, Yasser Rumeiyan, president of Saudi PIF, also said in an interview with the media that Saudi Arabia is working with some of the best people in the world on electric vehicles and is committed to bringing these brands to Saudi Arabia to build factories.
As for whether the Saudi Public Investment Fund and Gaohe Automobile can reach a cooperation, some industry insiders pointed out that Saudi investment in the new power of Chinese car-making is not the only one. Earlier, Skyline also entered the Saudi market, but so far there has been no progress. This time, the details of cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Chinese Express have not been confirmed, and there are still many uncertainties in the cooperation between the two sides. However, although the details of the cooperation between Chinese Express and Saudi Arabia and the market prospects have not been officially released, it is undeniable that Haohe's sea strategy is on the horizon. According to official plans, HiPhi X and HiPhi Z are expected to start selling in Europe in the third quarter of this year, with first deliveries within 2023. HiPhi Y expects to start accepting bookings by the end of 2023 for delivery in Europe in 2024.
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