Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker BYTON has signed an agreement with Marubeni Corporation, a major Japanese integrated trading and investment business conglomerate, on December 5, making the Japanese company an investor in BYTON’s ongoing Series C funding, according to Chinese media 36Kr.
The two will also strike a strategic partnership to cooperate on ride-hailing services, energy solutions, and the overseas production and sales of BYTON vehicles.
Marubeni Corporation is one of the five conglomerates in Japan with business operations covering metal and mineral trade and investment. Headquartered in Tokyo and Osaka, the company sits on a capital fund of 194 billion yen ($1.78 billion).
BYTON said earlier that their target was to raise $500 million in this round. While the deal hasn’t been closed yet, China’s traditional vehicle giant the First Automobile Group along with industry funds associated with Nanjing and South Korean supplier Myoung Shin, have all confirmed investment.
BYTON also agreed to a strategic partnership with Myoung Shin three months ago. The two will also collaborate on local manufacturing, sales, supply chain logistics and investment.
The company planned to finish Series C fundraising in mid-2019. However, the plan was delayed due to the share price decline of another Chinese EV maker, NIO, causing increased caution among investors in the EV space. The delay also impacted the timeline for when M-Byte, BYTON’s first vehicle, will begin mass production.
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