Tencent-backed electric car startup to file for IPO

NIO, the Chinese electric-vehicle startup backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., has filed confidentially for a planned U.S. initial public offering, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Shanghai-based carmaker has submitted an initial confidential filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The share sale could raise around $2 billion, though preparations are at an early stage and the size of the deal may change, the people said.

NIO plans to take investor orders for the offering as soon as this summer or early autumn, the people said.

Selling shares could give NIO more firepower as it competes with dozens of other electric-vehicle startups in the world’s biggest automobile market. The company, founded by William Li and a group of other internet entrepreneurs, started selling a sports utility vehicle in December with a price tag of 448,000 yuan ($70,000) before incentives.

U.S. first-time shares sales from Chinese companies have raised $3.8 billion this year, easily on pace to surpass the $4 billion of deals during all of last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

A representative for NIO declined to comment.

NIO also counts Baillie Gifford & Co. and Hillhouse Capital among its dozens of investors. The company is sufficiently funded for its operations and mass production plans, Li said in April. NIO was raising more than $1 billion in a new round of funding led by Tencent in November, people familiar the matter said at the time.

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Tencent-backed electric car startup to file for IPO